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Zero-carbon seagliders winging to New Zealand following $700m deal 
Agreement believed to be the country’s largest ever private investment in private transport.

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Ocean Flyer CEO Shah Aslam (right) with REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer (left) announcing the deal at CoMotion in Miami.

A newly-established New Zealand transport business, Ocean Flyer, is set to revolutionise travel in Aotearoa following a $700 million agreement to acquire 25 all-electric seagliders from US aerospace company, REGENT.

The deal between Ocean Flyer, a portfolio company of New Zealand private equity firm SO Capital which also owns domestic airline Air Napier, and REGENT was announced today at the CoMotion conference in Miami, USA. It is believed to be New Zealand’s largest ever private investment in commercial transport.

Backed by experienced venture capital firms led by high-profile, innovative investors Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban, REGENT is developing the zero-emission, high-speed electric seagliders with a team of MIT-trained, ex-Boeing engineers with an expectation of bringing them to market by 2025.

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A CGI rendering of the Ocean Flyer 12-seater Viceroy seaglider.

Ocean Flyer’s $700m deal is for 25 seagliders: 15 Viceroys, each holding up to 12 passengers, and 10 Monarchs, which can hold up to 100 passengers. The deal takes REGENT’s commercial sales book to over $8 billion plus. It sees Ocean Flyer joining five established international aviation and ferry businesses around the world, including Europe’s Brittany Ferries, as launch partners. Ocean Flyer is REGENT’s launch partner in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ocean Flyer’s deal will see kiwis cut their carbon footprints significantly by travelling in the affordable, fast and comfortable seagliders on domestic routes around Aotearoa’s blue highway.

Achieving aircraft speeds at a fraction of the operating cost, the Ocean Flyer seagliders will transport passengers and cargo over distances up to 300km at nearly 300kph in the Viceroys and up to 800km at nearly 540kph in the Monarchs using existing battery technology offering a more productive and efficient service for coastal cities – home to 75% of New Zealand’s population.

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Ocean Flyer CEO, Shah Aslam (right), signing the NZ$700m agreement with REGENT CEO, Billy Thalheimer (left) in Miami, to bring 25 seagliders to New Zealand.

“This is a gamechanger for Kiwi travellers,” says Ocean Flyer CEO Shah Aslam. “Electric seagliders emit no carbon and are just as fast and comfortable as current aviation options.”

“For instance, Ocean Flyer’s seagliders will be able to travel between Wellington and Christchurch in an hour from $60 a seat, or between Auckland and Whangarei in 30 minutes from $30. Ocean Flyer will service the majority of the coastal destinations in the country. It will also open up options for communities which are currently under-serviced by existing operators, if they are even served at all,” says Aslam.

REGENT’s seagliders make use of the ‘wing-in-ground-effect (WIG)’ and have been built to leverage existing port infrastructure. The seagliders begin their journey with the hull in the water, rising onto foils as the speed increases before eventually generating lift so that the seaglider begins to fly in-ground-effect at about 10m above the water.

The aerodynamic advantage of the “ground effect” includes significant operational efficiencies, increased payload capability, greater range and speed. For increased safety, seagliders are fitted with extensive avionics and automated electronics for navigation and collision avoidance, and to help the pilot maintain the correct altitude.

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A CGI rendering of the cockpit of the seaglider.

REGENT and Ocean Flyer make the ideal team to bring safe, zero-carbon, affordable, fast transportation to New Zealand. Ocean Flyer is establishing itself as an innovator in sustainable travel, enabling New Zealand to achieve its sustainability goals and protect its natural resources,” says REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer.

Aslam says he is excited by the positive reception Ocean Flyer has received from regulators, ports and other potential partners.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring competition and choice to Kiwi travellers while doing the right thing by the environment and communities. We look forward to working with like-minded people who see the opportunity in making a carbon neutral future a reality in New Zealand,” Aslam says.

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A CGI rendering of the Ocean Flyer 12-seater Viceroy seaglider.

MetService CE Stephen Hunt says “The Ocean Flyer proposal is an innovative and exciting development. Initially MetService will assist by supplying climatological and historic data on the sea and wind conditions of New Zealand’s coastlines and harbours. When operational, MetService look forward to providing Ocean Flyer with aviation and marine

forecasts to support their operations."

“The arrival of Ocean Flyer means New Zealand will take a giant leap in reducing emissions, starting in 2025. This will contribute significantly towards New Zealand being carbon neutral by 2050,” says Aslam.

ABOUT OCEAN FLYER

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Ocean Flyer signed a historic $700m agreement in April 2022 with REGENT to bring 25 seagliders to New Zealand. Ocean Flyer is the first seaglider-only company setup in the world to bring sustainable, fully electric, fast, affordable and comfortable new mode for mass public transport.

 

Ocean Flyer is committed to connecting communities across the motu, tackling climate change, and building a more resilient and affordable transport network for everyone.

 

For more information, visit oceanflyer.co.nz and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

ABOUT REGENT

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REGENT is pioneering the future of sustainable maritime mobility. REGENT builds seagliders, a new category of electric vehicle that operates exclusively over the water that will drastically reduce the time and cost of moving people and goods between coastal cities. Seagliders will service routes up to 290kms with existing battery technology and up to 800kms with next-generation batteries, via existing dock infrastructure. REGENT has an order book of more than $12billion. For more information, visit regentcraft.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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