A concept of a highly sensitive and fast-response airborne optoelectronic hygrometer, based on the absorption spectroscopy with laser light tuned to an intense ro-vibronic absorption line of H2O in the 1391– 1393 nm range is presented. The target application of this study is airborne atmospheric measurements, in particular at the top of troposphere and in stratosphere. The cavity ring-down spectroscopy was used to achieve high sensitivity. In order to avoid interference of the results by water desorbed from the instrument walls, the open-path solution was applied. Tests of the instrument, performed in a climatic chamber, have shown some advantages of this concept over typical hygrometers designed for similar applications.