Air Nostrum, which operates flights from its Valencia base under the Iberia regional umbrella, has ordered 10 Airlander 10 aircraft, with delivery scheduled for 2026.
According to the company, built by UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), hybrid airships can reduce emissions by up to 90%.
According to the manufacturer, kept at an altitude by helium and powered by electricity, they can seat 100 passengers and typically fly 300-400 kilometers (186-249 miles). Do not expect lightning-fast flight, however – maximum speed will be 80 mph (129 kph).
According to the manufacturer, the deal follows six months of “rigorous study and modeling” of internal Spanish routes.
The aircraft is known as a ‘flying bomb’.
Hybrid air vehicles
HAV says that in the future, potential short-haul routes for aircraft could include Liverpool to Belfast (168 miles), Seattle to Vancouver (127 miles), and Oslo to Stockholm (263 miles). The aircraft can travel point-to-point, as it does not require an airport runway to land – waterfront, greenfield sites and less-used airports are all determined by HAV.
“The Airlander does not require an airport structure to operate. HAV is exploring new operating locations with Air Nostrum,” a spokesman told CNN.
With a 1-2-1 configuration, some seats are opposite each other, and the transparent walls give a view of the countryside below, making the interior more attractive than a typical airplane cabin. For those who like to see where they are going, it will fly at a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet.
The sleek interior is one step above the regular airline seats.
Hybrid air vehicles
Carlos Bertomeu, president of Air Nostrum, said the airships would help his company achieve the EU’s “fit for 55” goals of reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
“Airlander 10 will significantly reduce emissions and that is why we have entered into this agreement with HAV,” he said in a statement. “Sustainability … is a fact that is already non-negotiable in the day-to-day operations of commercial aviation.
“Agreements like these are a very effective way to reach the de-carbonization goals envisaged in the fit for 55 legislative initiatives.”
HAV CEO Tom Grandi added: “As countries such as France, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the UK begin to place ambitious orders for the decarbonization of domestic and short-haul flights, Hybrid Air Vehicle and Air Nostrum Group are demonstrating how we Get there – and get there soon.
“Airlander is designed to provide a better future for sustainable aviation services, enable new transportation networks and provide faster growth options for our customers.”
HAV will start building fleets this year, creating 1,800 jobs in Yorkshire, UK.
The company said it was working on “further developments in electric propulsion” and hoped that the Airlander 10 would become the first large-scale aircraft to achieve zero-emission flight.
Photos: Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles