New airship provides capital view

A unique view of London and its famous landmarks is being offered to the public – by airship.

The Star Over London airship, sponsored by Stella Artois, started flying over the capital yesterday and will continue until 21 August. It is the first time that airships have been used for commercial flights in this country. Tickets are priced from £185 for a half-hour flight to £360 for an hour-long trip. Each of the 12 places in the 115ft (35m) long cabin is a window seat, and the passenger accommodation also boasts a lavatory. The Zeppelin NT07 airship has a semi-rigid body and is filled with non-flammable helium gas. But it cannot fly in strong winds, fog or thunderstorms, and bad weather delayed the venture's launch, which was scheduled for last week. But yesterday's conditions gave passengers a clear view over the city. The airship will fly for an average of five hours a day, taking 12 passengers plus a pilot and crew member on each journey. All flights take off from Damyns Hall airfield in Upminster and follow the river Thames, flying at 1,000ft and at up to 40mph. The German company DZR GmbH, which runs the flights, hopes to take more than 1,500 members of the public up in the vessel by the end of the summer.