Lopez-led INAEC Aviation Corp. said on Wednesday it has signed a deal with Boston-based sea glider manufacturer Regent to introduce sea glider planes to the Philippines.
INAEC President Jay Lopez said the company has firmed up an order of 15 Viceroy seagliders, which have a capacity of 12 passengers each.
He said the planes will be used “initially on tourism for the archipelago nation.”
“Seagliders are a game changer for the Philippines. They will open up new opportunities to reach currently inaccessible islands and allow visitors to experience more of the natural beauty our country has to offer,” Lopez said.
“We’re excited to work with Regent to introduce innovative technologies like seagliders that are safe and affordable while being consistent with the Lopez Group’s strategic direction to provide environment-friendly and sustainable modes of transport for travelers.”
He added that the companies plan to work together to “engage various stakeholders, including the broader public, to identify infrastructure and operating requirements ahead of the launch of commercial service.”
“Island nations like the Philippines are a perfect match for seagliders, where communities are connected by shared coastal waterways and can benefit from more affordable and convenient mobility between them,” said Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO of Regent.
“We’re thrilled to have such strong alignment with INAEC in our shared mission to deliver safe, sustainable, and memorable passenger experiences for all travelers.”
Regent seagliders are a new category of maritime vehicle that combine the high speed of an airplane with the low operating cost of a boat.
These all-electric, zero-emission vessels operate exclusively over water and leverage existing dock infrastructure to carry people and goods up to 180 miles with current battery technology.
Regent has built an order book of over 500 seagliders worth more than $8 billion from airline and ferry operators around the world. The company expects its Viceroy seagliders to enter service by mid-decade.