Luxury above the clouds

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In the UK, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has released the latest details of its airship, which boasts much lower carbon emissions than a conventional passenger aircraft. The 92-metre long Airlander 10 will carry 100 passengers in luxurious conditions. The airship requires less fuel than a conventional aircraft, according to HAV, due to a combination of “lift from buoyant helium, aerodynamic lift and vectored thrust”. In addition, it emits 90 per cent less pollutants than conventional aircraft.

It is planned that the hybrid electric and jet fuel model will be available by 2025 and the all-electric version by 2030. Photos of the airship’s cabin have been released for the first time. And the huge floor-to-ceiling windows offer a spectacular panoramic view,” Tom Grundy, CEO of the giant company, told CNN. The airship boasts a pressureless cabin and is designed to withstand high and low temperatures, strong winds and even lightning strikes, under the same regulatory standards as other passenger aircraft, the CEO continued. The Airlander’s trips will not compete with long-haul flights or routes already well served by high-speed rail connections, Grundy said, but will instead focus on connecting cities a few hundred miles away. These include the Liverpool-Belfast, Seattle-Vancouver and Stockholm-Oslo lines, and Grundy also pointed out that airships would be particularly useful in island nations such as Indonesia, but would also provide ideal travel to remote areas of northern Canada.

The airship has a maximum speed of 130 kilometres per hour (about 81 miles per hour) and the journey from Liverpool to Belfast – 271 kilometres (168 miles) – takes five hours 20 minutes, according to HAV. The airline plans to fly three airships by 2023, with the first passengers arriving in 2025.

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