Startups bring a breath of fresh air to the business world. These companies tend to offer new and innovative products and ideas in order to get traction and build a customer base. Some ideas are more ambitious than others though such as air travel using giant blimps. A startup company called Hybrid Air Vehicles or HAV came up with an idea to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of short flights.
Their answer is to replace airplanes with blimps. The Bedford-based company has developed a new environmentally friendly airship and has since announced a number of routes that it will serve from 2025. HAV plans to facilitate travel between cities like Vancouver, Seattle, Oslo, and Stockholm. The company secured funding from Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.
HAV says that their airships only emit about ten percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by a regular passenger airplane. Thus decreasing the carbon footprint of short flights by 90%. The company emphasized that the journey by airship would take the same time as an airplane and the carbon footprint per passenger on its airship would be about 4.5kg, compared with about 53kg via jet plane.
According to the company, their aircraft was “ideally suited to inter-city mobility applications like Liverpool to Belfast and Seattle to Vancouver, which Airlander can service with a tiny fraction of the emissions of current air options”. The CEO Tom Grundy compares their new airship to kind of a fast ferry.
Tom said that “We’ve got aircraft designed to travel very long distances going very short distances when there is actually a better solution. How much longer will we expect to have the luxury of traveling these short distances with such a big carbon footprint?”. The CEO emphasized the fact that their offering was not a “luxury product” and that “it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis”.
Almost 47% of regional airplane flights connect cities that less than 370km apart. These short flights emit a lot of carbon dioxide and thus HAV wants to target routes like these specifically. “It’s an early and quick win for the climate,” Tom said. “Especially when you use this to get over an obstacle like water or hills.”
Seeing the re-introduction of blimps would be cool and the climate really needs a break from all the excessive carbon emissions. We’ll have to see how the venture evolves till 2025.