Six Airlander aircraft proposed for rural Scotland  

Airlander manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles is working with Scotland’s HITRANS to build a business case for the commercial deployment of multiple airships.


HITRANS (Highland and Islands Transport Partnership) is the statutory transport body for the Highland and Islands region, which makes up over 50 per cent of Scotland’s land mass. With a relatively thin population spread across such a wide area, moving passengers and freight around the region is a challenge.

Having previously conducted a UKRI-funded feasibility study on using airships in northern Scotland, HAV and HITRANS will now advance the business case for the commercial deployment of Airlander 10 vehicles in the region. HAV has also committed to reserve early production slots for six Airlander 10 aircraft for HITRANS.

“We are excited to see early concept work progress further towards eventual service,” HITRANS director, Ranald Robertson, said in a statement. “We are committing resources and effort to work with even greater focus with HAV to produce a compelling business case that will attract the commercial interest and investment required. This is a direct product of the successful SATE [Sustainable Aviation Test Environment] project, supported by UKRI, where the challenges of connectivity in northern Scotland are proving an ideal test for both the technical and commercial capabilities of new technology.”

Airlander 10 can carry about 100 passengers or ten tonnes of freight payload, or a combination of both. HAV claims the airship produces up to 90 per cent fewer emissions when compared like-for-like with similar aircraft.

Since the start of 2024, the company has begun its type certification programme with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority and confirmed that its flagship production site will be located in Carcroft Common, South Yorkshire. It expects Airlander 10 to be in full-scale production by the end of the decade.

“This decade, Airlander 10 can help open up new commercial opportunities and access to tourism, making it easier to see friends and family, and improve access to vital public services - all the whilst breaking the link between growth and emissions in air transport,” said Tom Grundy CEO at Hybrid Air Vehicles. “We’re committing six Airlander 10 production slots for our growing partnership with HITRANS as we develop the business case together because this is precisely the type of game changing air transport service we developed it for.”