One year later, the aviation group doubled this number to 20 aircraft, each with a 100-passenger configuration. Mel Air and HAV are envisioning pioneering sustainable flights covering routes such as Malta-Sicily and Malta-Gozo, as well as further connections with Tunisia and Lybia, carried out by the Airlander 10. The two have recently presented this strategy to officials from Transport Malta, and things look promising.
Another important development is that Air Nostrum became the first commercial airline to be part of HAV's Airlander 50 Development Partner Program. As the name suggests, this separate project focuses on a second aircraft version, with a 50-tonne (55 tons) payload primarily meant for cargo. The fact that it's a partner program means that future customers can share their input and influence the configuration and capabilities of the upcoming aircraft in this early design stage.
The only bad news is that there's still a long waiting time for the first Airlander 10 units to start operating. In the best-case scenario, these futuristic aircraft will enter commercial service four years from now.
This bizarre-looking concept was affectionately nicknamed "The Flying Bum," but it’s far more than a weird-shaped large aircraft. The Airlander 10 was primarily created as a sustainable alternative to commercial airliners, thanks to remarkably low fuel consumption. Plus, it opens new operational possibilities due to its hybrid versatility (it can take off and land on the ground and on water).
Earlier this year, HAV also announced official production plans in South Yorkshire through a £7 million ($8.8 million) investment in collaboration with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority of the UK. When the production line is opened, the British company intends to roll out 12 units per year.
The commercial Airlander 10 aircraft will initially reduce CO2 emissions only by 75% compared to similar airliners and gradually switch from conventional diesel engines to all-electric configurations. The goal is to eventually ensure 100% emission-free flights, paired with its unique land/water capabilities.
The blimp-like aircraft will be able to fly at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters), covering approximately 4,000 nautical miles (4,603 miles/7,408 km). An earlier design also showed off a luxurious cabin configuration envisioned by Design Q. Still, the exact configuration and look of the future cabin hasn't been revealed so far.