They’re elegant, efficient, and exciting and require very little infrastructure. Airships have the potential to be more efficient than airplanes, cars, and even passenger trains and barges.
The Manned Cloud, with its fins and whale-like shape, resembles the Thunderbird 2. But, unlike the huge International Rescue rocket in the puppet series, this gigantic airship won’t be roaring off in a blast of flame and smoke to any international emergencies.
Instead, its designers say the 700 foot, super airship will gently lift 40 passengers into the sky for a serene cruise of the world.
The airship is a floating hotel called the Manned Cloud, and – according to its designers – it will be capable of circling the globe in a few days. The 20 bedrooms will provide the ultimate room with a view as the airship cruises at a height of 18,000ft. It has a restaurant, a library, a lounge and a gym on the first deck.
On the second level there will be 20 passenger rooms, terraces with panoramic windows, a spa and a bar room. The airship is powered by a giant rear propeller and also has two further engines pointing downwards for vertical take-off.
However, if you’re thinking of checking in, you will have to wait until its expected launch date of 2020.
Massaud, the French company behind the venture, is billing it as an ecologically friendly way to travel, leaving little impact on the environment – and eliminating the need for hotels.
Designer Jean-Marie Massaud’s team has been working in conjunction with the French National Office of Airship Research on the project since 2005.
A spokesman for Massaud, AurÈlie Ullrich, said: “The idea at the heart of this project is that passengers can see fantastic places like Thailand and the Caribbean without the need to build ugly hotels everywhere.
“It could land for a few days or for a week if there is a big event going on.
“We don’t want to be carrying around gallons and gallons of heavy petrol or diesel and we are looking into fuelling it with some form of gas.”
The cost of a night on the airship is yet to be decided, but it is likely to be out of the reach of most pockets.
However, it could provide the perfect hideaway for camera-shy celebrities.