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Air Nostrum Group to Acquire HAV Airlander Airships

HAV Optimism …

Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited (HAV), the British manufacturer of hybrid airships, announced it has received its first commercial order from an airline group.

The deal will see Air Nostrum Group, the European transportation conglomerate, take delivery of ten of HAV’s Airlander airships.

Originally developed as the HAV 304, the Airlander is a hybrid airship comprising a primary helium vessel fitted out with auxiliary wing and tail surfaces. The craft develops lift by both aerostatic and aerodynamic means. Inflight thrust is provided by four diesel engine-driven, ducted propellers.

Airlander’s progenitor, the HAV 304 was designed and built for the U.S. Army’s Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program. The aircraft’s 2012 maiden flight took place—somewhat ironically—at Lakehurst, NJ. 

Prompted by the 2013 cancellation of the LEMV program, HAV reacquired its prototype airship, modified it for civilian use, and re-designated the craft Airlander 10.

The modified aircraft completed design certification testing but was destroyed in 2017, when it came loose from its moorings in high winds. HAV remained committed to the design, however, and a production run of the Airlander 10 is now planned for 2025. 

Air Nostrum—legally incorporated as Air Nostrum Líneas Aéreas del Mediterráneo—operates a regional airline based in the Spanish city of Valencia. The air-carrier’s acquisition of ten Airlanders underscores the European Union’s aggressive push for  decarbonization. HAV asserts Airlander will cut flight emissions by up to 90% along Air Nostrum's regional routes.

Air Nostrum President Carlos Bertomeu states, "We are exploring each and every possible way to reduce our carbon footprint. The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions and for that reason we have made this agreement with HAV.”

HAV is expected to begin Airlander manufacturing in South Yorkshire, where the company states 1,800 jobs will be created as a result of the Nostrum deal and increasing interest in alternative aircraft. 

The Airlander, which can be configured to seat up to one-hundred passengers, is capable of remaining aloft for five-days while crewed, and over two-weeks while unmanned. The vehicle’s potential applications include civil and military transportation, aerial surveillance, communications relay, disaster relief, leisure flights, and VIP transport. 

HAV posits Airlander will be the world’s first large scale aircraft to achieve zero-emissions flight.



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