DALLAS – Air Nostrum (YW), which runs flights under the Iberia Regional banner from its Valencia base, has placed an order for ten Airlander 10 aircraft, which will be delivered in 2026.
As the industry pushes for zero carbon emissions in the coming decades by leveraging next-gen engines, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and electric-hydrogen hybrids, the Spanish airline has gone the hybrid electric-helium airship route. The aircraft, which was introduced in 2016, is expected to be in service by 2025, according to its manufacturers.
According to UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), its hybrid airships can lower carbon emissions by 90%. The deal comes after six months of rigorous analyses and modeling of internal Spanish routes.
Airlander 10 Hybrid Air Vehicle
The ‘Airlander 10’ airship is planned to seat 100 passengers and travel 300-400 kilometers (186-249 miles) on helium and powered electricity. The top speed will be 80 mph (129 kph).
Short-range routes for the aircraft in the future could include Liverpool to Belfast (168 miles), Seattle to Vancouver (127 miles), and Oslo to Stockholm, according to HAV (263 miles). The plane can fly from point A to point B because it doesn’t require an airport runway to land; HAV has identified waterfronts, greenfield locations, and underutilized airports as potential landing spots.
Airlander does not require an airport to function. With YW, HAV is looking for new operating areas, according to a company spokesperson who spoke with CNN.
With a 1-2-1 format, some seats facing each other, and translucent walls providing views of the landscape below, the interiors are a little more opulent than ordinary airplane cabins. It will travel at a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet for people who like to see where they’re going.
Comments from Air Nostrum, HAV
President Carlos Bertomeu of YW stated that the airships will assist his company in meeting the European Union’s “Fit for 55” goals of reducing emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. “We have struck this deal with HAV because the Airlander 10 will dramatically lower emissions,” he added in a statement.
“The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions and for that reason, we have made this agreement with HAV,” the CEO said in a statement. “Sustainability… is already a non-negotiable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation.
Bertomeu added, “Agreements such as these are a very effective way to reach the de-carbonization targets contemplated in the Fit for 55 legislative initiative.”
HAV CEO Tom 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.”
Air Nostrum is a Spanish regional airline based in Valencia. It currently operates as a franchisee of Iberia (IB) as Iberia Regional and an affiliate member of the oneworld Alliance. HAV will start building the fleet this year, adding 1,800 jobs in Yorkshire, UK.
Featured image: Hybrid Air Vehicles