Yemeni engineer unveils nuclear-powered flying hotel that can accommodate 5,000 guests

The structure could remain airborne for years at a time

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Yemeni engineer Hashem Al-Ghaili has unveiled his vision for the future of travel, and it wouldn’t look out of place in a film about the apocalypse.

Al-Ghaili posted a video on YouTube proposing a giant nuclear-powered sky hotel named Sky Cruise, which could accommodate 5,000 passengers. Like an enormous, winged, futuristic-looking cruise liner, it would be fuelled by 20 electric engines, with a small nuclear reactor using “highly controlled fusion reaction to provide the sky hotel with unlimited energy”.

As such, the hotel would never run out of power and could remain suspended in the air for several years, “without ever touching the ground”. Both supplies and passengers would be delivered to the hotel via traditional commercial jets. All maintenance and repairs would also be conducted mid-air.

Suspended high above the clouds, the sky hotel would feature a large “panoramic hall”, offering 360-degree views of the skies. A lift would connect this space to the main entertainment deck, which would be home to shopping malls, sports centres, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, children’s playgrounds, theatres and cinemas. A separate section of the airborne hotel would be dedicated to events and business meetings, as well as wedding halls.

Incorporated into the design are balconies and viewing domes attached to each side of the structure, where guests could indulge in some high-level stargazing. “Its sleek design combines the features of a commercial plane, while offering the epitome of luxury,” Al-Ghaili’s video explains.

Sky Cruise would also eliminate disturbance from turbulence, with its navigation systems featuring a state-of-the-art command deck that uses artificial intelligence to predict turbulence minutes before it happens. The system would respond by creating anti-vibrations.

The hotel would also be home to an advanced medical facility to keep guests “safe, healthy and fit”.

The concept was originally created by Tony Holmsten and then reimagined and animated by Al-Ghaili. But it has been greeted with scepticism by commentators: “If physics and aerodynamics didn't exist, then this vessel might actually be able to take off,” wrote one YouTube user.

“They should discuss the feasibility of weight-vs-thrust of the nuclear engine first before talking about what facilities to put on the craft,” commented another. References to the Titanic were also commonplace in the comments section.

The external lifts intended to connect the various floors of the sky hotel’s entertainment deck were deemed particularly problematic. “Imagine going down the external elevators and hearing the metal buckle and screech as air friction is trying to tear it off with you inside,” said one YouTube commentator.

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Updated: June 22, 2023, 5:45 AM