The construction of ten environmentally friendly airships will create about 1,800 jobs in South Yorkshire.
HAV (Hybrid Air Vehicles), a small Bedford-based company, said it signed a deal with a Spanish airline for 10 helium-filled Airlander 10 airships, which can carry 100 passengers.
A new green aerospace manufacturing cluster will produce the aircraft, which will have a CO2 footprint a tenth of that of jet planes, according to the manufacturer.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK’s business secretary, said the commissioning of the Airlander showed the UK was a leader in greener aviation technology.
“Hybrid aircraft could play an important role as we transition to cleaner forms of aviation, and it is wonderful to see the UK right at the forefront of the technology’s development,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
“This agreement enhances the possibility of the revolutionary, British-made and designed, Airlander 10 aircraft flying across Spanish skies. It is more proof of how the UK’s businesses are embracing new technology to drive growth and support high skilled UK jobs.”
HAV says the aircraft will emit about 4.5kg of CO2 per passenger, compared with 53kg on a jet, and will take to the skies by Spanish carrier Air Nostrum in 2026.
Carlos Bertomeu, Air Nostrum president said the Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions, and it was for this reason Air Nostrum partnered with HAV.
Among the possible routes for the 100-passenger Airlander 10 airship are Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca.
The airline, which currently operates flights for Iberia, did not specify what routes it would operate the Airlander on, but HAV previously said it would fly from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca in four-and-a-half hours.
HAV, which has previously drawn funding from Peter Hambro, founder of Russian goldminer Petropavlovsk, and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, said its aircraft is “ideally suited to inter-city mobility applications like Liverpool to Belfast and Seattle to Vancouver, which Airlander can service with a tiny fraction of the emissions of current air options”.