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Airlander 10

British Airship Company Eyes Malta-Gozo Trips

Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), a British airship company, has expressed keen interest in launching airship trips between Malta and Gozo, according to a spokesperson for the company speaking to the Times of Malta.

HAV has been in discussions with Transport Malta regarding its services. The company specializes in hybrid aircraft, with its flagship Airlander 10 relying on buoyant lift from helium as well as engine power during take-off and landing.

Plans for Commercial Production

The company aims to put the Airlander 10 into commercial production, with a projected output of up to 24 aircraft annually. This hybrid airship can carry up to 100 passengers or a payload of 10 tonnes. Air Nostrum, the Spanish regional carrier, is expected to be the first operator to deploy this innovative aircraft.

Potential for Air Services Expansion

The Airlander’s unique capabilities have the potential to enhance air services in the region. Transport Malta has shown specific interest in the aircraft’s abilities, which could facilitate the opening of new routes currently not available or easily viable with traditional fixed-wing aircraft.

Environmental and Passenger Benefits

Integrating the Airlander into the transport network between Malta and Gozo, as well as Malta and Sicily, could significantly reduce emissions by up to 90%. Additionally, it promises to offer a passenger experience comparable to high-speed train journeys, with low- and zero-emission air services.

Minimal Infrastructure Requirements

Unlike conventional aircraft, the Airlander does not require large-scale infrastructure and can operate from relatively flat surfaces, including ice and water, without the need for conventional runways. Although no specific sites have been identified in Malta yet, previous feasibility studies in Scotland suggest low-cost and low-impact modifications to existing airfields.

Enhanced Passenger Experience

HAV aims to provide passengers with a stress-free and comfortable journey, departing from purpose-built terminals away from crowded airports. Onboard, the aircraft offers ample space for socializing, working, dining, and relaxation. With low vibration and floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light and fresh air, passengers can enjoy a calm and pleasant travel experience.

Overcoming Initial Challenges

HAV faced challenges in the past, notably in 2016 when a prototype of the Airlander nosedived during a test flight in Bedfordshire, damaging part of its flight deck. However, the company has since worked to address these issues and move forward with its innovative airship project.

The prospect of airship travel between Malta and Gozo presents an exciting opportunity for both transportation and tourism in the region, offering a sustainable and comfortable alternative to existing modes of travel.

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