Airlander Aims At Luxury Travel Market
Airlander, the British company that has been test-flying a hybrid lighter-than-air ship intended for remote cargo operations, said this week they are now working to develop a tourism version of the unique aircraft. The company said they have partnered with Henry Cookson Adventures to launch a trial “expeditionary journey” next year as a sort of shakedown cruise to try the airship out in the luxury and adventure-travel market. “I have flown Airlander a number of times now,” said Dave Burns, chief test pilot for the company, “and I am really excited about the possibility of taking the first passengers on board. I can imagine the awe and excitement of seeing the world in luxury, with amazing views, quietly and whilst respecting the environment.” Also, the boutique studio Design Q has been awarded a grant from the UK government to develop an interior suited for tourism.
The government grant for Design Q totals about $80,000 in U.S. dollars, and will be used to develop a “unique and original” luxury tourism design for the aircraft interior. Design Q has previously worked with aviation clients, including BAE Systems, Bombardier and Virgin Atlantic. “We are excited with the prospect of working on such a unique project,” said CEO Howard Guy. “Not only is it the largest flying aircraft in the world, but it demands an interior that truly breaks new ground and provides an experience that will be unlike anything seen before. This will be something that passengers will treasure all their lives.” The Airlander has the ability to stay aloft for days at a time, in virtual silence, the company says, with floor-to-ceiling windows and fresh air that are ideal for cruising in exceptional locations.