Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

World’s largest aircraft ‘The Flying Bum’ to start taking passengers by 2025

Air travel might be set for a huge overhaul in the next few years with the advent of a new form of flight that is set to shake up the entire industry.

Since the prototype Airlander 10 airship crashed in 2017, there’s been some confusion about whether the revolutionary aircraft known as “the flying bum” would ever see service.

But in a massive new update, manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) says the modern-day Zeppelin is gearing up for full production.

The company expects to have three of the voluptuous airships ready to fly by 2023 – and the plan is to start carrying the Airlander’s first paying customers by 2025.

Those customers will enjoying a very different air travel experience. While budget air travel is something like being in an airborne coach, Airliner passengers will experience something more like a flying restaurant.

The cabin has open-plan seating with floor-to ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the ground far below.

There’s also a bar several different kinds of in-flight entertainment planned.

The Airliner isn’t for people in a hurry though. While a typical jet airliner will cruise at around 500mph, the Airlander coasts along at a more sedate 80mph.

But according to HAV’s research, "speed is not the most important feature for our potential customers."

Also, you’ll save a lot of time at the airport. Rather than using huge conventional airports, where passengers have to walk for ages just to get to the boarding gates, Airlander will be able to use its own pop-up terminals almost anywhere.

One possible route under consideration would be a Liverpool to Belfast run, which HAV say would be significantly faster than ferries and not much slower than airline service.

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George Land, HAV's commercial business development director, told Aviation International News:”For many decades, flying from A to B has meant sitting in a metal tube with tiny windows, a necessity but not always a pleasure.

”On Airlander,” George added, “the whole experience is pleasant, even enjoyable."

Besides intercity journeys, the Airlander 10 can also be used for three-day private "experiential" trips.

The craft was originally developed for military applications, as part of the US Army's Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) programme.

The “world’s largest aircraft” will have a range of around 450 miles, and HAV are seeing the craft as a “fast ferry” rather than a direct competitor to conventional commercial jets.

The UK-based company also says the first-generation Airlander COs emissions will be will 75% lower than any rival plane or boat. The company aims to offer an all-electric version of the airship by 2030.

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