Sankt Augustin n board a zeppelin at an altitude of 300 meters, one has the chance to take in the surroundings of Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg district with a bird’s eye view. But the weather has caused a delay to the start of the sightseeing flights and they will now begin on June 11.
The operators of the Zeppelin NT had carefully prepared themselves for the challenge of offering sightseeing flights during this time of corona. But now, the weather has put a damper on their plans - the Zeppelin did not lift off on Thursday as planned. Instead, flights are to start a week later on June 11.
The Zeppelin NT (Zeppelin New Technology) built in Friedrichshafen is the largest and only zeppelin in the world licensed for commercial passenger operations. The cabin, which is also equipped with a lavatory, seats 14 people. Panoramic windows on the sides and at the rear transform the cabin into a special kind of viewing platform. It flies at a height of 300 meters, the legally required minimum flight altitude over cities, with a speed of around 60 kilometers per hour. And unlike other airships, the Zeppelin NT can actually call itself a zeppelin because of its rigid internal structure.
It's not surprising that the zeppelin, which is also used for research, is becoming more and more popular for sightseeing flights. Most of the zeppelin flights originate at the home base in Friedrichshafen and fly over Lake Constance. Since 2018, the operator, Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei, has also been offering sightseeing flights in the Rhineland. With its bases in Hangelar and Mönchengladbach, the Zeppelin NT quickly became a competitor to the airship "Theo" operating from Essen/Mülheim.
Cabin reduced to seating for ten
To ensure that passengers are safe from getting infected during the corona pandemic, the number of seats in the cabin has been reduced to ten. The Zeppelin's hygiene concept includes compulsory masks at check-in and boarding.
The sightseeing flights over the region will start out from Hangelar airfield on Thursday, June 11. The reason for the postponement was the unstable weather. Airships are no longer allowed to fly in gusts of wind above 40 kilometers per hour as it makes the boarding process too dangerous for passengers.
Last weekend, the Zeppelin had to stay grounded in Mönchengladbach because of wind gusts. Passengers were offered a refund or rebooking. Most passengers did not opt for the refund, instead deciding to rebook, according to the company. Because of that, the schedule in Mönchengladbach was extended by two days.
But on Thursday, June 11 it is expected to take off from Hangelar. "We are very positive about Bonn," said Eckhard Breuer, managing director of the German Zeppelin-Reederei company, on Monday. At that time, he was still hoping for a stable high pressure weather system, which would have made for good flying weather. But "a weather forecast made three days out is not reliable", Breuer cautioned. And this proved true. "But you must also remember that we will be back here again at the beginning of September. That means waiting, of course, but it's worth the wait.”
(Orig. text: Peter Hemmelrath; Translation: ck)