Although the new generation of airships from companies like Flying Whale and LTA research is expected to be eco-friendly, it’s not exactly going to be expedient. In short, blimps are slow. One offering from Britain’s Hybrid Air Vehicles, the helium-powered Airlander 10, has a speed of around 92 miles per hour. Another company, a start-up called H2 Clipper, wants to take its next-generation hydrogen-powered airship to 150 mph with a prototype expected to start building in 2024.
By comparison, when it reaches the necessary cruising altitude, a passenger airliner typically flies around 575 mph. So while you would certainly travel faster in an airship than say your average highway road trip if you’ve got a long-distance journey, commercial flight on an airplane is still going to be your fastest bet. It’s also unclear how airships would fit in with existing regulations for commercial aircraft.
Perhaps, however, the next generation of airships will find its foothold in tourism — much like taking a leisurely cruise ship in the sky.