UK airship manufacturing company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) will build a production facility for its flagship Airlander 10 aircraft in Doncaster, UK as it works towards bringing its first vehicle to service in 2028. 

The company, which recently began the approval process for the Airlander 10, has acquired the freehold for the 50-hectare Carcroft Common site in an agreement with the City of Doncaster Council that forecasts the creation of 1,200 jobs. 

CEO Tom Grundy said: “Our vision to rethink clean flight has been met with robust support at every step of the way by City of Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire region. 

“We look forward to working closely with the community as we launch our production programme and progress this extraordinary project.” 

The agreement marks the latest step forward for HAV, which has been looking to commercially launch its airship, described by the company as “the world’s most efficient large aircraft”, since 2013 when its initial development programme with the US Army was terminated and it began a series of six flight tests of its prototype before it was retired in 2019. 

HAV’s plans for Carcroft Common include the construction of facilities for the production, testing and certification of the Airlander 10, including assembly lines for the vehicle’s airframe, propulsion systems and avionics, with a production capacity of 24 aircraft per year. 

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Oliver Coppard, mayor of South Yorkshire, said: “Following on from our significant commitment to developing South Yorkshire Airport City just last month, we are increasingly putting Doncaster at the cutting edge of sustainable aviation research and manufacturing. 

“Hybrid Air Vehicles are an important part of that vision, and I look forward to working with them as they move through the planning process.” 

The orderbook for the Airlander 10, which will be able to carry 100 passengers, is already worth £1bn according to HAV and includes customers such as launch partner Air Nostrum Group, which is expected to receive the first aircraft in 2028. 

The announcement, which includes commitments from HAV to work closely with local organisations such as Doncaster University Technical College, also marks a boost for the City of Doncaster which is hoping to highlight South Yorkshire as an aviation hub.