New golden age of airships? (Spears Wealth Management)


Airships are coming back into fashion, and their business case appears to be more than mere hot air, according to this report. A new breed of lighter-than-air craft is taking to the skies. Independent aviation studies point to 600 commercial airships being sold over the coming decade. However, this time the drive is led not by Germany, but by Britain.

The Airlander 10 from Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) made several successful flights over the Bedfordshire countryside in 2016. As well as scaring unsuspecting locals, it also ushered in a new golden age of airships, where $500 million deals are already being signed. ‘We aim to deliver our first commercial airships in early 2019,’ explains HAV’s CEO Stephen McGlennan. ‘Through 2017 we will test the Airlander 10 with different payloads and different weather conditions, then operate further demonstrations with customers.’

‘Many of these potential buyers are from the ultra-luxury sector’, says McGlennan, ‘from a superyacht in the sky for a wealthy individual to integration with private jets or cruise liners coming into port.’ The appeal is obvious, he says. ‘Look, imagine visiting Machu Picchu or the Pyramids from the air, arriving directly from a marina and bypassing the traffic. We also envisage safaris from the skies and tie-ups with luxury hotel chains.’ He cites Four Seasons as a working example: the luxury hotelier operates an all-business-class Boeing 757 for round-the-world tours priced at $135,000 per person.

‘Our Airlander can be configured in a more bespoke manner than a jet,’ adds McGlennan, ‘including a dining room, individual cabins for twenty guests, viewing decks with telescopes and the rest.’ As airships tour at relatively low altitudes, guests may open a window onboard and take in the Sahara, Maldives or Amazon air.

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Written by Long Branch Mike