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REGENT's Electric Seagliders Get Funding From Japan Airlines

SimpleFlying 1/30/2023 Channing Reid
© Provided by SimpleFlying

Electric seaglider company REGENT has secured additional funding from another airline. The company that pioneers sustainable maritime transportation announced a strategic investment from Japan Airlines (JAL) last week.

The announcement comes as REGENT’s new category of electric vehicles that operate exclusively over water has generated more than $5 billion in orders. Along with JAL’s investment, the two groups will work together to promote ecosystem development in underserved markets.

Over $40 million raised

JAL’s investment comes from the airline’s innovation fund, a firm established in 2019 that provides Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) funding to startup companies to create new values in the airline industry.

According to REGENT, the investment serves as a first step in the exploration of incorporating seagliders into JAL’s global network and highlights its commitment to sustainable transportation. The carrier’s funding has allowed REGENT to raise over $40 million to date.

The company’s co-founder and CEO, Billy Thalheimer, spoke about how critical JAL’s investment is.

“This strategic investment speaks to the growing adoption of seaglider technology by major airlines. At REGENT, we’re at the helm of ushering in a completely new era in sustainable transportation, and JAL Innovation Fund’s investment gives us the resources and support that we need to unveil an innovative approach for regional travel at lower costs, faster speeds, and zero emissions.”

In addition to the investment, both REGENT and JAL will also find ways to reach new markets. According to the company, the two are working together to explore opportunities for ecosystem development, bringing together relevant stakeholders to deliver the benefits of seagliders to new and underserved markets.

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Safe & Sustainable

Yasushi Noda, JAL’s Executive Officer and Senior Vice President of Digital Innovation, said the carrier is excited to partner with REGENT.

“We are very pleased to make this investment in REGENT from our CVC, JAL Innovation Fund,” Noda said. “We believe seagliders are a safe, sustainable, and economical solution and we are excited to work with REGENT to assess demand not only in Japan but around the world. We are delighted to add seagliders to JAL’s list of new challenges and are honored to work with REGENT to explore the possibilities of seagliders.”

Changing maritime mobility

The wholly electric and zero-emission vehicles are a new mode of transportation that travel at the high speed of an airplane but have a low operating cost of a boat. The seagliders operate over the water and utilize existing dock infrastructure to have the ability to carry people and deliver goods to as far as 180 miles between coastal destinations.

According to REGENT, the company has sold over 400 seagliders to global aviation and ferry customers, including Mokulele Airlines, Southern Airways Express, FRS (Germany), and Ocean Flyer (New Zealand).

The company has reportedly garnered more than $7.5 billion in orders from commercial operating partners worldwide and aims for its 12-passenger seaglider, Viceroy, to enter service by mid-decade.

Hawaiian Airlines has also heavily invested in REGENT as it aims to commercialize travel via seaglider by 2025. Last fall, the company claimed it was on track to begin passenger trials next year after a prototype of the seaglider completed its first successful test flight.

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