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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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BAN's World Gazetteer

The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Regent raises $60m and looks to Japan
The new funding fully capitalises Regent's full-scale prototype build and test programme with crewed flight in 2024, and keeps it on track to certify, manufacture and deliver its seagliders to customers by mid-decade.
Regent and JAL agree to bring seaglider ops to Japan.
Read this story in our November 2023 printed issue.

Regent Craft, the Rhode Island-based manufacturer of all-electric seagliders, has raised $60 million in Series A funding co-led by 8090 Industries and Founders Fund. The round includes previously announced strategic investments by Japan Airlines Innovation Fund, Lockheed Martin and Yamato Holdings, and is joined by Point72 Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, Mark Cuban, UAE's Strategic Development Fund, Future Planet Capital and others, bringing the company's total funding to date to $90 million. The new funding fully capitalises Regent's full-scale prototype build and test programme with crewed flight in 2024, and keeps the company on track to certify, manufacture and deliver its seagliders to customers by mid-decade.

Seagliders are a new mode of transportation that enables fast, affordable, zero-emission travel along coastal routes. Coupling advanced technologies from hydro-foiling watercraft and electric aviation, seagliders operate like a boat at docks and in harbours, take off from wave-tolerant hydrofoils and fly within one wingspan of the surface over open water. They reach cruise speeds up to 180 mph while travelling up to 180 miles on a single charge.

Regent demonstrated this unique 'float, foil, fly' mission with a subscale prototype in 2022, marking the first time a vehicle has successfully combined the wave tolerance of a foil with the speed of a wing. The company's next major milestone will be to achieve crewed flight with its full-scale prototype, which it plans to do next year.

“There are extraordinarily few companies today with battery powered vehicles that can fly human crew, and Regent is about to join those ranks,” says co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer. “Seagliders will be the first electric flying machines to be economically viable, and I'm willing to bet the first one that the majority of the world will take a ride in.

“8090 Industries is the perfect investor to lead this round, bringing a deep bench of industrial titans focused on sustainability, aerospace and defence that will support scaling Regent's global footprint. We're also thrilled to have the continued support of Founders Fund, whose vision for a new era of American industrialism couldn't be a better fit for our goal to revolutionise regional travel. The validation from such incredible strategic partners across the commercial and defence sectors underscores the urgent need for a high-speed, low-cost, sustainable mobility solution.”

"Regent has both a category-defining technology and a strong business model that will solidify its position as a leader in sustainable transportation this decade,” says Kerem Ozmen, co-founder and CEO of 8090 Industries. “Our two investment pillars are sustainability and aerospace and defence, and Regent falls perfectly in the intersection. With about a quarter of the planet's CO2 emissions coming from transportation, and with the sector growing faster than any other, the time to act with new technologies is now. Regent will be one of, if not the first manufacturer in the advanced air mobility vertical to complete certification and bring its product to market.”

Regent is a once-in-a-generation company with the power to truly transform an entire sector,” says Founders Fund partner Delian Asparouhov. “Its faster, cheaper and cleaner solution for regional mobility is the first radical advance in transportation in decades. Regent is a textbook example of the type of ambitious technologies we need to grow the US industrial base, and today we're doubling down on our commitment to its vision.”

Alongside this, Japan Airlines has agreed to establish a system for seaglider operations in Japan with Regent following a strategic investment made earlier this year by JAL Innovation Fund. Together, the companies will collaborate to drive awareness and understanding of seagliders in the region, identify jurisdictions for seaglider operations by JAL and JAL Group operators, develop infrastructure for seaglider operations, including a planned demonstration flight in 2025, and obtain certification for the safe operation of electric seagliders. In addition, JAL subsidiary JALUX will act as a sales agent for the maritime craft.

“I am delighted that we have successfully concluded this agreement," says Yasushi Noda, JAL executive officer, senior vice president - digital innovation. “Being an island nation, seagliders offer great potential for our country to connect people and to transport goods throughout the nation in a sustainable manner. By joining forces with Regent and utilising its compelling technology, we look forward to bringing this revolutionary vehicle to the global market in the near future."

“Japan is an exemplary market for seaglider travel and logistics, and we look forward to partnering with JAL to accelerate the adoption of seagliders throughout the country and the broader Asia Pacific region,” adds Thalheimer.

Seagliders are purpose built to serve coastal communities, a large but under-addressed market segment that the company estimates to be worth $25 billion by 2030. Regent's flagship seaglider, Viceroy, will carry 12 passengers up to 180 miles with existing battery technology, while its vision product, Monarch, will carry 100 passengers on routes up to 500 miles.

Regent has secured a commercial order book for over 500 seagliders representing more than $8 billion from global airline and ferry customers including Mesa Airlines, Brittany Ferries and FRS, showing the multi-sector excitement for the sustainable mobility product. The company recently revealed that Southern Airways will take delivery of the first production Viceroy, which will operate under its Mokulele Airlines brand in Hawaii. In addition to passenger travel, seagliders support multiple mission sets such as cargo transport, search and rescue, offshore logistics and defence applications, which further expand the company's customer base and market opportunities.

Regent expects the Viceroy seaglider to enter into service by mid-decade, following a certification pathway supported by the US Coast Guard and other global maritime authorities, with Monarch's entry into service occurring by the end of the decade.

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