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The Airlander 10, built by Bedfordshire-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), has already landed a first-of-its-kind contract with Spanish airline Air Nostrum for 10 airships, which will be manufactured in SouthYorkshire. That will bring with it 1,800 jobs as part of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse strategy.

Designers say Airlander’s low-carbon output and ability to land on any stretch of relatively flat land gives it the edge.

Measuring 300ft in length, the behemoth will be the world’s largest aircraft, and its 100 passengers will be able to replace a conventionally cramped fuselage with a cabin that offers unparalleled comfort.

But HAV’s real selling point is the Airlander’s carbon footprint – it emits only 10 per cent of the greenhouse gases of heavier conventional aircraft.

By 2030, when it will be all electric, its footprint will be zero.

Last night Mr Kwarteng said: “Our aerospace sector is one of the crown jewels of the British economy” and our well-earned reputation as a global centre of excellence for design and production has meant the world has come to us for the most innovative technology.

“Hybrid Air Vehicles ‘ airship will create high-skilled jobs as we build on our powerhouse export economy to showcase the UK’s talented workforce globally.”