The French tour operator, Grands Espaces, which specializes in adventure and exploration trips in the Polar regions of the world, has announced a reservation agreement with airship developer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) to use its Airlander 10 aircraft in the future.
Airlander 10 is a new-generation airship designed to provide air access to remote regions with little ground infrastructure. By securing access to the Airlander 10, Grands Espaces expects to offer air cruises to its customers.
Airships have several advantageous capabilities, such as the ability to fly at low altitudes and speeds, or even to land on open spaces with no infrastructure, that make them suitable for the type of Arctic expeditions that Grands Espaces is known for. The gondola of the airship is also spacious enough to be fitted with several rooms and common spaces for the use of tourists.
This is not the only Arctic tourism project that has set its sights on airships. A Swedish startup called Ocean Sky is also working to launch high-end Polar expeditions on airships, with the Airlander 10 being one of the options being considered.
The airship’s lower speed limits its ability to compete with traditional fixed-wing aircraft on many missions. However, it is seen as a plus when it comes to catering to segments of the market that prefer to travel at a more leisurely pace.
Would-be tourists will need to wait until at least 2028 to go on an Airlander 10 Polar expedition, since Hybrid Air Vehicles must first complete the certification process and start the serial production of its airship.
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