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Hybrid Air Vehicles annouce move from Cardington - 1st September 2017

In an annoucement today to members of the Airlander Club, Hybrid Air Vehicles annouced that they had taken the decision to move from Cardington to continue it's operations.

In the statement from Tom Grundy, Strateagic Customer Solutions and Support, the annoucment confirmed that HAV have decided to look for an alterantive home for Hybrid Air Vehicles and use other airfields a little further away from Cardington for the operations of the Airlander 10. With the use of Shed 2 as a the Warner Brothers film production site, with some 1000 people arriving for work, the change of use of the site over the last 4 years has been seen as one of the reasons for the move.

Full Statement:

Anyone living close to Cardington cannot help but notice the huge changes that have happened since HAV moved in nearly four years ago. We now have over 100 people on the site most days, and share our hangar with a very busy Warner Bros film studio and storage site. Next door in Hangar 2 the film industry is also making great progress, so busy days at Cardington now see over 1000 people arrive for a day’s work. With new roads and new housing coming, the pace of change will not slow down any time soon.

At HAV, our focus now is on building from the great success of the initial Airlander 10 testing, and preparing to produce Airlander aircraft and deliver them all over the globe. So this is a natural time for us to make sure that we are set up for the future with the right site and the right facilities and we have been reviewing our needs to ensure that we can do just that.

As a result we have concluded that we now need to begin a process of moving HAV to a new site, away from Cardington. We have worked with everyone on and around the site to make every effort to find a way to stay here, but after that extensive exercise we believe that moving is the right and pragmatic decision for us.

We are proud of what we have achieved in the last four years and we couldn’t have done it without Cardington. We are constantly amazed by the support and affection of the vast majority of people and businesses in our area, and we are pleased to bring jobs and, we hope, other benefits including our STEM work and other activities to Bedford. We also benefit from the great transport links of this area and its proximity to London. So we’re very pleased to say that we don’t plan to move far. We will make further announcements in the coming weeks, and these will start with a new location for our Engineers and our other office-based teams to work from locally as from the beginning of December.

You will also hear in the coming weeks that we will start to use other airfields a little further away to undertake testing and other operations of Airlander. We have been preparing for this transition for a long time – including right from the start, by designing Airlander to be maintained and supported outside without need for a hangar after it is built. We’ve been busy this year proving all of our maintenance techniques work without coming back in to the hangar and have made very good progress with that. With extended flight testing and customer demonstrations about to start, some of which need more take-off and landing distance than Cardington allows, this is the right time for Airlander to start visiting some new locations.

Finally, we hope to announce at a later date where our planned production location for Airlander will be sited. This location will be the focal point of new employment both in HAV and our supply chain providing nearly 2000 additional jobs in the UK, delivering parts and sub-assemblies for building, testing and delivering 12 or more aircraft per year. We plan to do this from 'right-size' hangars, purpose designed for Airlander 10. We are now working to finalise the design for these and will reveal more in future issues. For now, though, we can reveal that our approach to this has been as innovative as you would expect, and we have turned to the event structures industry to develop a road-transportable hangar that can be erected very rapidly in a new location. This gives us, and our customers, the flexibility to respond quickly to demand for hangars here, or in the future operating locations for the aircraft.

All this makes it a very exciting time for HAV and the Airlander project. This is, of course, tinged with real sadness to be starting to move away from Cardington and gratitude to everyone in and around us for their support and help over the years here. We hope that Cardington can remain a testing and mooring site for Airlander, as we believe it should, long into the future. With 100 years of heritage behind it, and Airlander just beginning its journey into the world, who knows what new chapters of our industry will be written at Cardington in the future?

Tom Grundy
Executive Director – Strategic Customer Solutions and Support

 



 
 

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