'Slow is the new fast' say the designers of cutting edge airship

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TOWERING kite-shaped airships could herald a new era of luxury transport following the unveiling today of the Aircruise concept.

Packing 330,000 cubic metres of hydrogen gas and capable of lifting 396 tonnes, the Aircruise concept features penthouse apartments, bars and even dizzying glass viewing floors.

Aircruise was created as the antithesis of a hurried, crowded passenger jet. London-based design and innovation company Seymourpowell wanted to rethink transport – on the premise "slow is the new fast".

Nick Talbot, design director at Seymourpowell, said: "The Aircruise concept questions whether the future of luxury travel should be based around space-constrained, resource-hungry, and all too often stressful airline travel."

The Aircruise straddles the line between a cruise ship and a floating hotel, it is claimed.

Mr Talbot explained: "In a world where speed is an almost universal obsession, the idea of making a leisurely journey in comfort is a welcome contrast."

Airships had their heyday in the 1930s with the famous German Zeppelins. However, new technology has made them increasingly attractive from an environmental standpoint.

Silent and pollution free, the Aircruise combines solar power with a primary hydrogen drive for a cruising speed of 90mph.

Theoretically, it could ferry 100 people from London to New York in a leisurely 37 hours or from Los Angeles to Shanghai in just under four days.