British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) and Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum have signed an agreement for the acquisition of the first 10 100-seat hybrid airships.
The agreement, which was announced on June 15, 2022, marks the first commercial order for the airships, making the airline group the launch customer.
According to a statement from HAV, the diesel engine-driven ducted propeller-powered airships are expected to “to diversify and complement Air Nostrum Group’s existing aircraft fleet currently operating on these routes, carrying 100 passengers while producing only around one tenth of the harmful emissions.”
“The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions and for that reason, we have made this agreement with HAV,” executive president of Air Nostrum Carlos Bertomeu was quoted as saying in a statement.
He continued: “Sustainability, which is good news for everyone, is already a non-negotiable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation. Agreements such as these are a very effective way to reach the de-carbonization targets.”
Tom Grundy, CEO of HAV said that the manufacturer will start production for Air Nostrum’s order in 2022. The manufacturing process will take place at the company’s site in South Yorkshire and will create up to 1,800 new job opportunities.
“Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for sustainable aviation services, enable new transport networks and provide rapid growth options for our customers. Our partnership with Air Nostrum, as the launch Airline for Airlander 10, leads the way towards that future,” Grundy said.
“As countries like France, Denmark, Norway, Spain, and the UK begin to put in place ambitious mandates for the decarbonization of domestic and short-haul flight, Hybrid Air Vehicles and Air Nostrum Group are demonstrating how we can get there – and get there soon,” he continued.
The hybrid airship Airlander 10, which the company has been developing since 2012, is equipped with a set of pneumatic skids designed to let the airship land and take off from a wide variety of terrain, as well as from water. Powered by four Thielert Centurion diesel engines, the air vehicle could be used for both passenger and cargo flights as it can carry up to 14,000 kilograms (30,000 lbs) of freight for a flight range of 3,900 kilometers (2,400 mi), according to the manufacturer.
All 10 airships will serve regional Air Nostrum routes across Spain with the first hybrid air vehicle expected to be delivered to the carrier in 2026.