Passengers will soon fly across Spain causing just a small fraction of the usual emissions thanks to a new fleet of 10 hybrid airships.

Bedford firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) signed an aircraft reservation agreement with Spanish airline Air Nostrum Group, which aims to transport up to 100 passengers in each of the helium-filled Airlander 10 vehicles.

Originally designed for military intelligence and surveillance, the craft is now aimed at low-emission passenger aviation. With a maximum payload of 10 tonnes and a range of over 7,000km, HAV claims it will produce only about 10% of the per-passenger emissions of conventional airliners. The long-term aim is for all four of the aircraft’s engines to be electric, meaning it could operate with zero emissions.

The low-speed aircraft gets its lift from a combination of buoyancy, aerodynamics and vectored thrust, maximising efficiency. HAV, which has been developing next-generation airships for 15 years, said the aircraft could also one day carry future battery or solar cell technology to achieve zero-carbon emissions.

Carlos Bertomeu, president of Air Nostrum, said: “We are exploring each and every possible way to reduce our carbon footprint. This is something that we have been doing for many years. The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions, and for that reason we have made this agreement with HAV.”

Extracted from IMechE website - read more here

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