World’s biggest aircraft will soon embark on maiden voyage
"It’ll be more like travelling on a cruise ship than a plane."
The world’s biggest aircraft, the 300-foot-long Airlander 10, is preparing to take off in 2026. The British creators of the blimp-like aircraft say it produces "less pollution and noise" yet has "massive endurance and cargo-carrying ability" that is set to revolutionise air travel.
The futuristic craft will be able to transport 100 holiday makers to Spanish islands including Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca (a typical Boeing 737-800 carries 189).
Much like hybrid vehicles on the road, the helium airships will use both aerostatic and aerodynamic lift with a backup of diesel-engine propellers when needed, resulting in ultra-low emissions: "Hybrid lift and advanced powertrain technologies deliver up to 90% fewer emissions than alternate aircraft," claim HAV, who also suggests that "zero emissions flight available by 2030".
At 300ft long, the craft is roughly the length of a football pitch and is tall as six double-decker buses. Despite it’s dimensions, the Airlander isn’t about cattle-class travel.
The Airlander 10 reportedly won't need an airport to take off and land
The aircrafts are designed to bring a lost touch of luxury back to air travel with some interiors more closely resembling those of luxury yachts. They feature a spacious passenger cabin and "floor to ceiling windows" beneath the balloon.
And for those prone to panicking on flights, the Airlander’s creators, suggest a much smoother ride, saying it is "significantly less affected by turbulence compared to a traditional passenger jet".
The Airlander does not require an airport for takeoff or landing. The aircraft, said to cost £40m, features six inflatable studs underneath that mean it "can take off and land on virtually any flat surface, including water".
HAV recently announced that Spanish airline group Air Nostrum has "doubled its commitment" for the Airlander 10, now up to 20 aircraft, allowing the British company to push further into the Med and Balearic islands.
Under the initial agreement, announced in June 2022, Air Nostrum Group had reserved ten Airlander 10 aircraft, with a 100-passenger configuration. Now, according to a report by Engineer, it has reserved a further ten to underpin expansion of the Airlander network from Spain into the Mediterranean region, including Malta.
With the first Airlander services planned within five years, additional potential route networks for Airlander aircraft were recently presented by leaders from Mel Air – part of the Air Nostrum Group – and Hybrid Air Vehicles to Transport Malta, the publisher reported.
Discussions included the advantages of Airlander’s potential land and water-based operations for routes including Malta-Gozo, Malta-Sicily, and other links with Italy, Tunisia, and Libya.
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