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Spanish Airline Aims to Fly Sustainable, Helium-powered Aircraft

Air Nostrum Hybrid Air Vehicles

Spanish airline Air Nostrum announced Wednesday it could be flying futuristic, helium-filled aircraft by 2026.

Air Nostrum ordered the first 10 Airlander 10 aircraft from British manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) and plans to increase orders over the next five years.

“We are exploring each and every possible way to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Air Nostrum President Carlos Bertomeu.

“Sustainability, which is good news for everyone, is already a non-negotiable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation. Agreements such as these are a very effective way to reach decarbonization targets.”

HAV says the Airlander 10 will reduce harmful emissions by 90% compared to an average airplane of a comparable capacity.

“Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for sustainable aviation services, enable new transport networks and provide rapid growth options for our customers.,” said HAV CEO Tom Grundy.

He added that the partnership demonstrates how to achieve ambitious mandates to decarbonize domestic and short-haul flights.

HAV is beginning production of its fleet in South Yorkshire this year, creating 1,800 new jobs in the process.

Air Nostrum said besides the environmental credentials of the aircraft, its ability to land on any surface that is “reasonable flat," including land and water, is an added bonus.

The aircraft should be able to travel as fast as 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour) and fly as far as 3,700 kilometers (2,299 miles).

Today, aviation makes up around 3% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, and some airlines have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050.

While the industry may be notoriously tricky to decarbonize, scientists from the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT) suggest emissions must be cut to about half of currently projected levels to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

In a recent study, the organization concluded that “new technologies under development can cut aviation CO2 to near zero in 2050, but that immediate action is needed from governments to peak emissions this decade.”

In the study, the ICCT said it expects the majority of emissions reductions to come from low-carbon fuels.

Source: AA