1,200 jobs as eco-airship firm Airlander confirms location for huge new Doncaster factory

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A huge new factory which will produce state of the art eco-airships and will create 1,200 jobs has been announced.

Hybrid Air Vehicles has agreed terms with Doncaster Council to base its new manufacturing facility for Airlander 10 at Carcroft Common.

The firm’s factory will see the testing, certification and production of up to 24 Airlander per year.

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The announcement comes just days after Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones confirmed a deal for a lease had been struck with Doncaster Sheffield Airport owners Peel for a 125-year lease to bring the base back to life.

The Airlander will be produced at a huge new factory in Doncaster.The Airlander will be produced at a huge new factory in Doncaster.
The Airlander will be produced at a huge new factory in Doncaster.

The Airlander site will create over 1,200 direct and highly skilled jobs in South Yorkshire, and unlock an export opportunity worth in excess of $1bn, say bosses.

The firm, which describes itself as the UK-based leader in sustainable aircraft technology, have agreed to locate the production programme for Airlander 10, the world’s most efficient large aircraft, in Carcroft.

The 50-hectare site has been identified by the City of Doncaster Council for development to unlock new economic growth.

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Hybrid Air Vehicles will now initiate activities leading towards a planning application, working with the local community and other stakeholders as part of the planning and preparation process.

Subject to planning approval, Hybrid Air Vehicles will develop new flagship facilities for Airlander 10’s production, testing, and certification operations, capable of producing up to 24 aircraft per year at the site.

It will house cutting-edge aerospace production equipment, such as new assembly lines for Airlander’s composite-based airframe, propulsion systems, and electrical and avionics systems.

Airlander 10 is a new type of ultra-low emissions aircraft capable of carrying 100 passengers, or ten tonnes of payload.

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The reserved orderbook for Airlander 10 stands in excess of £1bn, with the first aircraft set to enter service from 2028 with the likes of Air Nostrum Group, the launch airline customer.

Hybrid Air Vehicles will also work closely with important regional partners like the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the Doncaster UTC.

The announcement marks important progress toward the City of Doncaster’s Economic Strategy 2030, and the success of the South Yorkshire Investment Zone, which is focused on advanced manufacturing.

The Carcroft Common site is part of the Investment Zone, launched by the Chancellor of Exchequer in July 2023, which aims to improve investment through planning, development, and skills support.

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In February 2024, the City of Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority published ambitious plans for South Yorkshire Airport City, re-opening Doncaster Sheffield Airport alongside a focus on new green advanced manufacturing and sustainable industrial innovation, including Hybrid Air Vehicles investment into Carcroft Common.

The announcement of a production site builds on a previous agreement with the Mayor of Doncaster and the Mayor of South Yorkshire, Oliver Coppard, in March 2023.

Underpinned by a £7m investment by the region, this included a commitment to collaborate on skills and supply chain development.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster said: “Doncaster already has strong clusters across various sectors such as rail, advanced manufacturing and engineering and I am delighted to soon be able to add this exciting new sector to our industries, to be based at the Carcroft Common Employment site.

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“The City of Doncaster is at the forefront of embracing new technology to drive growth and this proposed Hybrid Air Vehicles site is not only part of our ambitious growth strategy but also our pioneering climate change ambitions, focussing on new green advanced manufacturing and sustainable industrial innovation.

“The Heads of Terms agreed are the culmination of years’ worth of lobbying, planning and collaboration that I am incredibly pleased to see coming to fruition. Hybrid Air Vehicles in Doncaster is truly an exciting opportunity, bringing high skilled and well-paid jobs to Doncaster.”

Ed Miliband MP for Doncaster North, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Carcroft and for Doncaster. This new production site will create over 1200 much needed highly skilled jobs to the area as well as bring green air travel a step closer.

“Doncaster Chamber, City of Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority have, over many years, worked hard to create an environment where advanced manufacturing businesses can thrive and this development is a very exciting opportunity for the region.”

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Tom Grundy, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd said: “Airlander 10 will transform what’s possible for sustainable air travel, and Carcroft Common will deliver the flagship production centre we need to do that, creating over 1,200 jobs and a £1bn per annum export.

"Our vision to rethink clean flight has been met with robust support at every step of the way by City of Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire region.

“We look forward to working closely with the community as we launch our production programme and progress this extraordinary project.”

Steve Foxley, CEO of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, said: “Hybrid Air Vehicles choosing to base its production of Airlander 10 in our region is a big moment for South Yorkshire and one to be proud of. This investment not only brings high-value jobs and new supply chain opportunities but it marks a strong signal of confidence in advanced manufacturing and the new South Yorkshire Investment Zone.

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"The AMRC has worked closely with Hybrid Air Vehicles since 2021 on research linked to its Airlander 10 programme, bringing together our expertise on low emissions propulsion, large composite structures and supporting manufacturing technologies.

"To have Hybrid Air Vehicles putting its production footprint in South Yorkshire is a real boost to the region’s capability and reputation, helping to grow our green manufacturing cluster, and building on the research and development that is being led by the wider University of Sheffield into sustainable air travel, energy, and how we transition to a low-carbon economy."