Swiss electric seaplane maker Jekta gets first order from Dubai's Gayo Aviation

Companies sign letter of intent for 10 electrically-powered amphibious aircraft

An illustration of the electrically-powered Passenger Hydro Aircraft Zero Emission 100 (PHA-ZE 100), made by Swiss start-up Jekta. Photo: Jekta
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Dubai's air charter and brokerage Gayo Aviation has signed a letter of intent to purchase 10 planes from Swiss electric seaplane maker Jekta, amid a global push by the travel industry to lower its carbon footprint.

Gayo Aviation plans to use the amphibious aircraft PHA-ZE 100, short for Passenger Hydro Aircraft Zero Emissions, for sustainable experiential travel and regional transport to underserved areas, according to a statement by Jekta on Wednesday.

An amphibious aircraft can take off and land on both water and land.

Jekta is aiming to reduce per-passenger-per-hour costs by more than 70 per cent compared to current seaplanes.

“We want to be among the first to provide our customers with a truly sustainable option to transport their passengers,” Gisle Dueland, chief executive of Gayo Aviation, said.

“The trend for the top end of the tourism community is towards sustainable and experiential travel, so we wanted to be ahead of the curve and first in line to serve this evolving sector. This opens up more opportunities to supply sustainable tourism options … We anticipate that interest in travel on these airframes will be high.”

Swiss start-up Jekta is taking advantage of improving battery technology to support growing demand to travel safely, cheaply and ecologically.

“Sustainability does not have to mean a compromise in comfort or capability and the PHA-ZE 100 has been designed to meet these needs,” George Alafinov, chief executive of Jekta, said.

“It also satisfies the increasing demand and opportunity to use water as infrastructure, the expansion of seaplane routes, and provides a sustainable, optimised solution to replace ageing seaplanes.”

The 19-seater seaplane is at the design stage, with a prototype scheduled for 2026 before entry into market by 2028, Mr Alafinov told The National in November.

Amid growing public awareness and improving electrification technology and infrastructure, Jekta introduced its amphibious passenger aircraft as an alternative to older, noisier and environmentally-damaging models.

In a speech on Monday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on leaders of developed countries to commit to reaching net-zero targets as close as possible to 2040, instead of 2050.

“Every country must be part of the solution. Demanding others move first only ensures humanity comes last,” he said.

Updated: March 22, 2023, 11:29 AM