Developers of the new, low-speed Airlander vehicle believe Australia is a prime candidate for the airborne luxury expeditionary tourism sector. Last month Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), in partnership with Design Q, revealed details of the passenger cabin of its 18-guest floating aircraft, dubbed Airlander 10.
Speaking exclusively with LATTE, Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Media and Communications Manager Rebecca Zeitlin says that for a number of reasons, Airlander and Australia seem to be a “great fit”.
From their office in the UK, Zeitlin explained: “Australia has two really big challenges in tourism. First, there are amazing places to explore, but a lot of them are very hard to reach and far away from existing travel infrastructure. Additionally, tourism is under increasing pressure not to damage the environment, particularly in sensitive places like the Great Barrier Reef.”
“Airlander’s capabilities directly address both of these challenges. Because Airlander is not reliant on traditional infrastructure and can take off and land from virtually any flat surface, the aircraft is capable of reaching those far-flung destinations.”
“The aircraft’s ability to stay airborne for days also makes it ideally suited to expedition-style trips,” Zeitlin commented.
“Airlander is also a much greener way to travel compared to traditional aircraft, particularly helicopters. When we think about flying Airlander from one end of the Great Barrier Reef to the other – which we can do in one trip – while having minimal environmental impact…that’s pretty powerful.”
Zeitlin said that the interior of the Airlander 10, which was previewed at the Farnborough International Airshow recently, demonstrates that “all of this can be done in incredible style and comfort. It really brings to life what we mean when we say ‘Re-think the Skies’.”
The first vehicle to have type-certified aircraft in service with customers is slated for the early 2020s. “When we reach our full production capacity, we aim to produce 10 to 12 aircraft per year,” she said.
Quizzed by LATTE to determine whether Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited had any prospective customers in Australia, Zeitlin said that due to confidentiality she was unable to offer any details on potential customers.
“Those potential customers represent a variety of sectors from defence to tourism, as well as several nationalities. We expect that tourism customers will use Airlander 10 to reach destinations all over the globe,” she concluded.
HAV previously flagged plans to bring their aircraft concept to the luxury travel and adventure sector, saying “the wide-ranging and unique capabilities of Airlander mean the company can provide a brand new option for
high-end, luxury tourism.”
“The ability to stay aloft for days at a time, in virtual silence, with floor-to-ceiling windows and fresh air make Airlander perfect for cruising in exceptional locations. Using innovative technology, Airlander 10 is the first in a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft. Though potentially capable of staying in the air for weeks at a time, it is her ability to land anywhere that truly sets her apart from traditional aircraft,” HAV said late last year.
All images used with permission. Lead image, Airlander campaign imagery.