Airlander 10’s ‘flying bum’ set to jet eco-tourists to the Arctic

A voluptuous aircraft dubbed “The Flying Bum” has joined the fleet of Grands Espaces, a French eco-tourism company.

Officially called the Airlander 10, the climate-conscious craft brings the Zeppelin era into the future. Built by the UK’s Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the blimp used helium and electricity to stay aloft.

In development since 2007, the Airlander 10 promises lower emissions, fuel burn, noise, and operating costs. HAV bills the vehicle as “the future of zero-carbon aviation.”

With a flexible payload space, the aircraft can be configured for various applications, from dining rooms in the sky to surveillance centres. Or, indeed, experiential travel.

Grands Espaces plans to deploy the Airlander 10 for journeys to hard-to-reach and undiscovered places

Founded by polar explorer Christian Kempf, the company envisions low-impact flights to spectacular sites — including the Arctic.

With the aircraft capable of taking off and landing from any reasonably flat surface — including water and ice — tourists could travel to typically unreachable destinations. Grands Espaces aims to offer customers the flights from 2028. 

For HAV, the partnership adds another client to a slowly expanding roster. The company recently revealed that it’s also working with BAE Systems — Britain’s biggest defence company — to deploy the aircraft in defence and security operations.

If all goes to plan, that bulbous rear will soon become a fixture in our skies.

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