Hybrid Air Vehicles hopes to run intercity routes by 2025
Almost a century after the heyday of airships, an English company is trying to revive dirigibles as a way of limiting carbon emissions on short-haul routes. Before the pandemic, short budget flights between European cities were quite commonplace. They were also a source of concern for environmentalists, so much so the Swedes coined the term flygskam “flight shame” to encourage more Earth-friendly modes of transportation.
Hybrid Air Vehicles believes it has a solution in airship flights that will reduce emissions by more than 90% compared to a commercial flight and take the same amount of time when travel between airports is factored in. Starting in 2025, HAV plans for its Airlander airships to fly routes such as Liverpool to Belfast (5 hours, 20 minutes), Oslo to Stockholm (6.5 hours), and Seattle to Vancouver (4 hours). The 100-passenger Airland 10 airships will feature much more comfortable seating and more leg room than commercial flights.
“This isn’t a luxury product it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis,” CEO Tom Grundy told The Guardian. “We’ve got aircraft designed to travel very long distances going very short distances, when there is actually a better solution. How much longer will we expect to have the luxury of travelling these short distances with such a big carbon footprint?”
With backing from the U.K. government and European Union, HAV hopes to have a dozen Airlander 10 airships running inter-city routes by 2025 and plans for its craft to eventually be all electric. HAV is in talks with airlines to replace planes on several routes and has signed a deal with Swedish experiential travel company OceanSky Cruises to operate sightseeing flights over the North Pole.