$240,000 airship tickets to North Pole come with company shares

Sweden's OceanSky Cruises plans to become an airline of airships

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When you're looking to go for a cruise, it's usually on the seas — maybe the Norwegian fjords or around the Caribbean.

But instead of on the water, Sweden's OceanSky Cruises is working to bring the experience to the skies via airships.

It won't be cheap — 'Pioneer' tickets are $240,000 for a cabin for two people on a trip to the North Pole, which features nine expeditions. However, the first 100 ticket buyers also receive company shares.

A representative for OceanSky told The National: "There have already been customers who have chosen to be pioneers and get involved not just as passengers, but as investors supporting the future of sustainable aviation.

"We are very pleased with the interest that this pioneering model of relationship between a company and its customers is getting and the profile of individuals who are looking for a purpose for their investment."

For those not interested in the shareholding route, a ticket can be procured with a 5 per cent deposit for the cabin, 45 per cent to be paid nine months before departure and 50 per cent paid six months in advance.

The company aims to become an airline of airships, with a forecasted fleet of more than 100 by 2030, focusing on the ultra-luxury experiential travel sector and air cargo segment to start with.

“OceanSky Cruises’ vision and mission is to lead the future of sustainable aviation, not through new fuels nor short-range electric planes, but by bringing airships back to the skies with zero carbon footprint," said Carl-Oscar Lawaczeck, OceanSky chief executive and founder.

The interior of the airship would be like a luxury hotel. Photo: Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd and Design Q

OceanSky has been in talks with UK-based manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) to use its Airlander 10 airships.

The 100-passenger airship runs on helium and electricity and is capable of flying at speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour and being airborne for five continuous days. The main technology used is called Lighter-than-Air (LTA).

Airlander 10 is capable of slashing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90 per cent compared to a regular aircraft. HAV says the CO2 footprint on its airship will be about 4.5 kilograms per passenger, compared to more than 50kg per traveller on a regular jet.

OceanSky is in talks with other unnamed manufacturers and said it was "working to start our trips to the North Pole once there is an airship in the market to do so".

The Airlander has had some problems during its testing phase. In 2016, it crash landed on it second test flight and in 2017 it had another mishap, having broken free from its mooring mast in the UK, injuring two people.

A new Airlander 10 is to be built by 2026, Bloomberg reported. It said HAV had received a £1 million ($1.15m) grant from the UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme to develop a 500-kilowatt electric propulsor to replace its fuel-burning engines.

OceanSky's vision of the airship is that it can carry up to 16 travellers and seven crew members and has been designed as a flying luxury hotel with large panoramic windows.

“The North Pole expedition is aimed at the traveller who wants to experience the Arctic in a unique way and at the same time contribute to the development of a new era of sustainable travel," Mr Lawaczeck said.

Some of the first season expeditions will be led by the prestigious Arctic expert and climate activist Robert Swan.

Updated: September 23, 2022, 4:00 AM
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