Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has come to a partnership arrangement with the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), billed as the world’s largest public military airshow and held annually in the UK. 

The agreement forms part of RIAT’s sustainability and ESG strategy, exhibiting aircraft and new tech that will advance the decarbonisation of the air travel industry. 

The highlight of the deal will be the show flight of HAV’s Airlander 10 aircraft at the 2027 RIAT. 

Airlander is still in its preproduction development and testing phase, although the first model has progressed through its test flight schedule and HAV announced its intention to build its construction facility in Doncaster, UK. The first Airlander is scheduled for completion in 2026. 

Airlander is an ultra-low emission aircraft – capable of cutting GHG from long and short-haul flights by 90% according to HAV – based on a reimagining of the 20th century airship. 

Although airships (sometimes referred to as ‘zeppelins’, after a famous German manufacturer) never completely disappeared from the skies, disasters including the Hindenburg led to widespread safety concerns and a clear industry turn to fixed-wing aircraft. 

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HAV hopes to instigate a move away from traditional planes for long-and-short-haul travel and freight flights. Along with Airlander 10, which will carry 10 tonnes of load, the company is working on a design for a 50t version, with room for 200 passengers and a maximum range of 2,200km with a full load. 

HAV CEO Tom Grundy said: “Airlander is an innovative hybrid aircraft that delivers efficient, cost-effective passenger transport, freight and communications and surveillance services.

“It represents a new transportation category, between today’s fast, expensive, carbon-intensive air services and slower infrastructure-dependent surface transport, with significant application in defence.   

“Airlander 10, which we plan to demonstrate at RIAT 2027, is just the first of a planned ‘family’ of Airlander aircraft.” 

2023 will be the second RIAT to showcase electric aircraft, with an expected crowd of 200,00 attending RAF Fairford in the UK. 

Kate McKinley, people and sustainability director at organisers Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with HAV in this way. For us, sustainability represents a huge area of responsibility. 

“As an event we are determined to make clear, measurable and positive changes to the way we work, to do the right thing. We are aware that these changes will not happen overnight and we want to ensure that we make real lasting improvements to the way we work.

“In future, we hope to establish ourselves as industry leaders in this area and partnerships like this are a huge sign of intent.”