Sustainable ‘air expeditions’ in the Arctic will soon become a reality

An agreement between Grand Espaces and Hybrid Air Vehicles will enable Airlander 10 airships to undertake journeys in remote areas, including the Arctic

UK-based travel trends forecasting agency, Globetrender, has reported that French eco-tourism firm, Grands Espaces, intends to utilise British-designed Airlander 10 airships for Arctic expeditions starting in 2028.

Journalist Jenny Southan reported that the aircraft manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles and Grands Espaces have reached an agreement for aircraft reservations, enabling the Airlander 10 airship to undertake journeys in remote areas, including the Arctic. Both companies have expressed a commitment to sustainable and immersive travel that aims to redefine exploration without causing harm to the environment.

Grands Espaces, founded by renowned Arctic scientist and author Christian Kempf, typically conducts expedition cruises using small ships and yachts. However, the emergence of advanced airships will provide the opportunity to explore the poles quietly and cleanly from the skies, as these airships can land in almost any location.

“Grands Espaces has been a pioneer in polar exploration cruises aboard small boats. For over 25 years, our travellers have been exploring remote and fragile regions with us, returning amazed and with a better understanding of these places,” said Christian Kempf, founder and CEO of Grands Espaces. “The environment is at the core of our philosophy, not only in the organisation of our trips but also through my history as a scientist exploring polar regions for over 50 years.”

The announcement marks a significant milestone in the Airlander 10’s path to operational deployment, as the aircraft already boasts an order book exceeding £1 billion (about AUD$1.5bn), with production set to commence this year.

The collaboration between Airlander 10, touted as the “world’s most efficient large aircraft”, and Grands Espaces’ environmentally conscious and innovative tourism vision will facilitate the expansion of tourism into previously unexplored regions, utilising an ultra-low emissions aircraft.

The Airlander’s capability to take off and land from nearly any flat surface, including water and ice, coupled with minimal infrastructure requirements, will help Grands Espaces expand its services sustainably, providing better access to areas difficult to reach by conventional aircraft or boats, while offering a unique experience for guests. Passengers will have the opportunity to embark on exclusive, low-impact journeys, including visits to spectacular natural sites and local communities.

“Airlander is an aircraft that brings great possibilities to the world of travel and tourism, offering more services and new experiences without the negative effects legacy aircraft have on the planet,” stated George Land, Hybrid Air Vehicles’ executive director of sales. 

The agreement is four years in the making. Journeys are slated to begin in 2028.

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