Mokulele Airlines wants to unleash new mode of transportation for interisland travel in the form of sleek electric seaglider planes.
The local airline stated in a news release on Monday that it is partnering with REGENT, a Boston-based company that builds the planes, and Pacific Currents, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric, to conduct a study to get the all-electric fleet off the ground.
The planes will be able to land, takeoff from and glide atop the water.
The futuristic planes will be able to fit 12 passengers, and will also be used for cargo transportation. Mokulele wants to unleash the new fleet sometime in 2025.
“The REGENT seaglider is a complete game changer for the State of Hawai‘i,” said Stan Little, CEO of Mokulele, in a news relase. “Not only can this vehicle help the state meet its sustainability and resiliency goals more quickly, but this will enable our airline to offer new services that aren’t possible today.”
The jointly funded feasibility study that will focus on the economic, environmental, and community benefits of introducing seagliders for inter- and intra-island travel in the state of Hawai‘i.
“We recognize that Hawai‘i is a special place, with a sacred culture, sensitive environmental ecosystems, and unrivaled biodiversity,” said Billy Thalheimer, CEO and co-founder of REGENT. “The feasibility study continues our commitment to engage with local communities, civic organizations, and all appropriate private and public sector leaders to understand how seagliders can help improve the daily lives of the residents. We are excited and humbled to be a part of this team accelerating Hawai’i’s push toward a zero-emission future.”
REGENT first embarked on its community listening tour in the summer of 2021. Key members of the REGENT management team have spent almost a full year engaging with stakeholders across the public, private, and civic sectors to understand the needs of the residents and learn more about the unique ecosystems associated with the region.
“We appreciate that REGENT has been engaging community and environmental groups early in the process,” said Kuhio Lewis, Chief Executive Officer for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a frequent collaborator with REGENT on community issues as the company prepares for the launch of the study. “Their commitment to building relationships with the community demonstrates that they genuinely care about Hawai‘i’s people and want to do right for our islands.”