Specifically, what I expected from the article:
The original purpose was military:
" programme was intended to demonstrate a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle capable of providing Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) support for ground troops."
Length (to answer clickbatey title): 92 m
Payload: 10 tons (10,000 Kg)
Civilian transport? 20,000 lbs is a lot if you need to resupply an Arctic research station manned by 3 people but not for anything at scale.
Tourists? Maybe a novelty but you wouldn’t really need more than 1 or 2 of those.
Edit: 1/6th instead of 1/3rd forgot that MBTs are 60,000kg not lbs.
1. 5 days airtime manned.
2. 92 mph cruise speed.
3. 20,000 ft service ceiling.
4. 23 mph loiter speed.
I would want to know how loud it is and how resistant it is to (limited?) ground fire.
Regardless, I can see it having potential uses.
They're for taking on ISIS-style insurgencies, not nation-state actors.
Famous last words. MANPADS are getting better all the time.
Bear in mind that the Airlander's ceiling was previously stated at 16,000ft so there's not a lot of margin.
But now it sounds like they've pivoted to trying to make a flying cruise ship, which admittedly does sound awesome.
But probably not at the same price per pound, or so would the expectation be.
> I thought the whole point of renewed interest in airships was their cargo carrying capacity.
A mix of cargo capacity and cost. And this model (or others being developed right now) are probably not the high-end of what they could theoretically do, they're around where they expect financial sense is for an unproven system, they need to get buy-in and sales.
> between 20% and 40% of the fuel consumption and operating costs of equivalent traditional aircraft
> Minimal ground crew are required: two for an Airlander 10 and none for an Airlander 50.
Having a dedicated vessel that has rather limited use might have a much higher TCO since it will not replace traditional aircraft but rather supplement them.
The vast majority of operation costs for an aircraft are maintenance and fuel, both of which are pretty direct functions of operation time. So being more flexible does not actually spread these, each role incurs its own operation costs which would not be incurred in a more limiting device.
And helicopters have high operation costs.
Which helicopter do you know that can loiter for 5 days without refueling while carrying a 10t payload?
ISR - Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance - a generic term
EW = Electronic Warfare - a generic term
There is recent operational history of using blimps in the ISR role . Things don't always go according to plan, though 
Edit: they’re called “thermal airships”; Cameron Balloons sells them. Less lift than a helium balloon of the same size (by ~30%), but about 20x cheaper to fly. I really want one, now.
> Another mishap befell the 92-metre-long (302ft)...
> An eyewitness said the aircraft appeared to "break in two" after breaking its moorings and deflating...
Why would they approve it after such a mishap one might wonder? Well the deflation was intentional and triggered by an automatic safety system as The Guardian article explains.
> Another mishap befell the 92-metre-long (302ft), 44-metre-wide craft in 2017 when a woman was taken to hospital after its hull automatically deflated when the vessel came loose from its moorings.
But it still frames it as a series of mishaps and injuries. Which I guess is great for page views but damages the reputation.
What's the market for this thing? Maybe short, over water trips?
It would seem hard to compete with cars or trains once you factor in security screening time, etc.
Seems fairly niche, but potentially very useful when you need it.
It's basically a container ship for land that doesn't need any crew
If they bring it to market, it's not going to stay niche
Edit: the smallest 10ft containers hold ~10 tons, so each ship is basically a flying small container. Still though. Also reasonable to assume bigger ships would come next
A truck doesn't have a cruise speed of 160km/h, doesn't provide point-to-point delivery services (i.e., is bound to the available roads) and doesn't provide lifting services.
I do believe that these airships won't replace standard trucking services but they are indeed capable of providing specialized high-value services in time-critical scenarios.
Basically cargo hauling into destroyed warzones and the arctic.
There are quite a few civil engineering projects, bot mid- and large-scale, which require specialized transport to locations that are hard to reach. Do note that in practice this airship also provides lifting services, so it gets the cargo where it is needed and also drops it off where it is supposed to be.
Airship plans are for heavy hauling, not delivering amazon packages. TFA's airship lifts 10 tonnes. Lockheed Martin's LMH1 is planned for 20. The goal is large / bulk cargo in low-infrastructure or hard-to-access locations.
In Australia, the Sydney - Canberra - Melbourne route would be a potentially interesting one for this, as road travel averages 100km/hr, but has obvious downsides. These are short leg trips, though I don't expect this tech would alleviate most of the land-based delays, and (traditional) incumbents would not be happy if they did.
Either way, a less painful than jet, cheaper than jet, (slightly) faster than car, less attention demanding than car, travel option would certainly be relevant to quite a few people's interests around the world.
There are _huge_ swathes of Australia that probably don't have a single passable road within 100km. Once you get much more that a couple of hundred km from the coast, Australia is effectively empty. Any population is way down in measurement noise.
Here's a video of the Airlander 10 prototype crashing:
Worse than an aircraft of similiar capability and better than an airship of similar capability. So somewhere between "tolerable" and "don't even try"
- Monocrystalline solar panels would provide as much power as those engines when covering the craft's surface but they're too heavy to be put there.
- Modern thin-film solar cells could be light enough, but would probably provide only enough power for cruising at low speed.
I guess you could replace one of those engines with an electric motor, throw away 1/4 of the fuel tank and this way more or less break-even on weight saving a lot on fuel during the day.
Multijunction inverted metamorphic cells are even higher efficiency and also offer excellent power-to-mass, over 1000 W/kg.
They're probably still too expensive for a huge airship though. Even if it's a military airship.
Which is why I mentioned beamed power. Perhaps thin-film solar panels could be used for range/endurance extension. Since these craft are more weight challenged than space challenged, perhaps hydrogen fuel cells could be used instead of batteries?
Instead of beaming power a fast aircraft could overfly it and drop fuel onto it via a steerable parachute based drone.
"HAV suffered a setback last November, when the parked airship broke free of its mooring mast. An onboard safety system automatically ripped open the hull in order to deflate the aircraft, thus keeping it from drifting. It has since been determined that the mishap occurred due to an incorrectly-secured locking mechanism between the airship and the mast." 
A lot of Boeings crashed in the early days of jet aviation, too, but now they’re considered very safe.
The "most" you're referring to are people that didn't read any of the preliminary findings and jumped to conclusions the second they read Lion Air.
> Being Lighter-Than-Air, the characteristics of the Airlander bring many safety benefits. It has four engines and can fly on just one. Even if all engines fail, which is extremely unlikely, it can still float or glide under pilot control.
> As a unique part of the design, 60% of the lift
is produced aerostatically by being Lighter-Than-Air and a further 40% lift is generated aerodynamically by
having a wing-shaped hull. The engines can be rotated to provide an additional 25% of thrust up or down, to
help landing, take-off and hover.
So aside from the fact that this is a hybrid that needs power to lift, it’s also a Blimp rather than a Zeppelin.
I got to ride on one of their last Bay Area flights. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done. See  for photos. The lake with houses around it is Larry Ellison's home.
Passenger boarding was interesting. The zeppelin is hovering when you board, so they don't have everyone get off before the new passengers get on. The zeppelin would float away! Instead, they swap passengers one by one to keep the weight stable.
Once on board, the passengers are in the same cabin with the pilots, so we could talk with the pilots, see how they fly the airship, and ask for little sightseeing detours along the way.
Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei still operates tours in southern Germany.  If you ever get a chance to ride on one, do it!
Edit: All their „blimps“ are Zeppelin NT now https://www.goodyearblimp.com/behind-the-scenes/current-blim... and they manufactured them by themselves with parts and know how from Germany.
They assembled the zeppelins in germany. Because it's pretty certainly simpler to ship the parts and a few engineers than to make the trip in assembled blimps.
HAV themselves have more on the move to production at 
The original Red Alert was such a phenomenal video game.
Time to add some AA to the build queue