Luxury airship tours to take off

Natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon could feature in the luxury tours. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles
Natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon could feature in the luxury tours. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles
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The Scottish-led team behind the airship-looking Airlander 10 have announced plans to adapt it for luxury tours to natural wonders such as the North Pole.

Other destinations for the world's largest aircraft could include the Bolivian salt pans, Grand Canyon in the US and the Namib desert in southern Africa.

Deserts are among possible destinations for the tours. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Deserts are among possible destinations for the tours. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Airlander firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said: "The ability to stay aloft for days at a time, in virtual silence, with floor-to-ceiling windows and fresh air make Airlander perfect for cruising in exceptional locations.

"Though potentially capable of staying in the air for weeks at a time, it is her ability to land anywhere that truly sets her apart from traditional aircraft.

"These twin assets make her perfect for exclusive adventures, bringing guests to hard-to-reach locations in unprecedented levels of comfort.

An "expeditionary" journey is planned for next year by luxury travel firm Henry Cookson Adventures.

Trips to snowy regions such as the North Pole are planned. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Trips to snowy regions such as the North Pole are planned. Picture: Hybrid Air Vehicles

HAV said the firm would work with scientists, explorers and conservationists to share "hidden corners of the world with a select few", which would promise "genuine next-level travel".

It has also commissioned aviation design company Design Q to produce a luxury touring cabin for the 300ft long craft.

Airlander chief test pilot Dave Burns, from Rutherglen in South Lanarkshire, said: “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.”

HAV said it and Q Design had been awarded a £60,000 grant by the UK Government innovation agency Innovate UK to help develop the project.

Design Q chief executive Howard Guy said: “We are excited with the prospect of working on such a unique project, 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.”

Airlander - part aircraft, part helicopter - resumed test flights last year from its base at Cardington in Bedfordshire following a damaging “heavy landing” on one of its first trips in 2015

Several of the company’s key people are Scottish.

They also include chief executive Stephen McGlennan, from Stepps in North Lanarkshire.

Chairman Philip Gwyn is the grandson of Clyde shipbuilding magnate Hugh Macmillan.