Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) and Air Nostrum Group, which includes Hibernian Airlines in Ireland and Mel Air in Malta, have agreed to double the number of Airlander 10 under reservation, to a total of 20 aircraft.
Image courtesy HAV
Under the initial agreement, announced in June 2022, Air Nostrum Group had reserved 10 Airlander 10 aircraft, with a 100-passenger configuration. Under the new agreement, Air Nostrum Group has reserved a further 10 Airlander aircraft to underpin expansion of the Airlander network from Spain into the Mediterranean region, including Malta.
With the first Airlander 10 services planned within five years, additional potential route networks for Airlander aircraft were recently presented by leaders from both Mel Air (part of the Air Nostrum Group) and Hybrid Air Vehicles to Transport Malta. Discussions included the advantages of Airlander’s potential land and water-based operations for routes including Malta-Gozo, Malta-Sicily and other key links with Italy, Tunisia and Libya.
Air Nostrum has also joined the Airlander 50 Development Partner Programme, becoming the first commercial airline partner in that project.
Airlander 50 is designed to accommodate a 50-tonne payload, and will address the future of freight, moving cargo or people point-to-point with minimal infrastructure and a low environmental impact. The Airlander 50 Development Partner Programme enables key partners and future Airlander 50 customers to influence and enhance Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander 50 specification.
In March 2023, Hybrid Air Vehicles and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority of the UK, led by Mayor Oliver Coppard, announced a £7 million investment into plans to deliver production of Airlander 10 aircraft in the region. The plans will enable the creation of over 1,200 highly skilled jobs and thriving new supply chains.
Miguel Ángel Falcón, Chairman of Mel Air and Vice President of Air Nostrum, said: “There are many factors that motivate us in flying Airlander, including a very low fuel consumption, bringing great ecological and economic benefits, the high operational versatility of being able to take-off and land on land and water, the family concept offering from 10 to 50 tonnes of payload starting with 100 passengers on the Airlander 10, all in an environment of great passenger comfort. These are just some critical factors that make the Airlander an excellent aircraft for regional flights.”
Tom Grundy, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, said: “Our growing partnership with Air Nostrum Group continues to demonstrate leadership towards the future of flight and revolutionising how we fly.
"Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for commercially appealing and truly sustainable aviation services, by enabling new transport services and better growth options for our customers. Airlander 10 will make this possible by 2027 and Airlander 50 will build on it. We’re so pleased to have doubled Air Nostrum’s reservation to 20 aircraft and to have its backing for our journey and support for our Airlander 50 Development Programme."
Captain Charles Pace, Director General of Transport Malta CAD, said: “I welcome the innovative and pioneering approach of this project. This could be a very interesting opportunity of eco-friendly air services for regional routes based in Malta. The geography and distances are well suited to this innovative aircraft and I look forward to seeing the project advance further and provide alternative green transport between the islands.”