December 2, 2023

Travel Hawaii

It's Your Travel Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines Invested in Sea Gliders for Future Travel

Courtesy of Regent

Editor’s Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

Island hopping may soon feel even more literal, according to a report from The Points Guy. Hawaiian Airlines invested in Regent, a company that makes 100% electric-powered seagliders.

The seagliders are between a plane and a boat, hovering just feet above the water as it reaches cruising speeds. The seaglider rises on its retractable hydrofoil, which gives it lift above the water’s surface. Regent told The Points Guy that the seaglider maintains its motion and position above water by a “dynamic air cushion created by the pressurized air between the wings and the water.”

The seaglider model that Hawaiian Airlines is investing in, called the Monarch, will be able to transport as many as 100 people, with maximum speeds of 180 miles per hour. According to a press release shared by Hawaiian Airlines, the fleet of seagliders could be out on the water by the year 2028.

A rendering of the Monarch seaglider that Hawaiian Airlines invested in. | Courtesy of Regent

“Innovative interisland transportation has been core to our business since 1929 when we replaced steamships with airplanes. We are excited to be an early investor in Regent and to be involved in developing their largest seaglider—a vehicle with great potential for Hawai’i,” said Avi Mannis, chief marketing and communications officer at Hawaiian Airlines, in the press release. “We look forward to working with Regent to explore the technology and infrastructure needed to fulfill our vision for convenient, comfortable, and environmentally sustainable interisland transportation.”

There are currently no plans to replace Hawaiian Airlines’ existing 130 daily flight routes in Hawaii with seagliders. But the electric-powered seagliders are part of the airline’s goal to implement more sustainable transportation methods within its service.

“Seagliders will be a game-changer for sustainable regional transportation in communities such as Hawai’i. Through close partnerships with design partners and strategic investors such as Hawaiian Airlines, we can fully understand our operators and unlock their ability to provide zero-emission transportation solutions to their customers,” said Billy Thalheimer, Regent CEO, in a press release.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.