Amphibious aircraft OEM Jekta Switzerland is making an impact in the Middle East region after Dubai based private and specialist aviation provider, Gayo Aviation signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 10 of its PHA-ZE 100 aircraft – the first in the region.
Jetka has more than two decades’ of experience designing and building flying boats, including the eight-seat, composite LA-8, and D-Borey ultralight.
Its PHA-ZE 100, which stands for passenger hydro amphibious – zero emission 100 airframe, represents the first in a series of next-generation amphibious flying boats, which Jetka’s CEO, George Alafinov, said: "Will define the future of transport by using environmentally friendly propulsion combined with the world’s waterways as its infrastructure."
Alafinov said: “With a powerful presence in the charter, travel and tourism sectors gained over a decade in the industry, Gayo Aviation recognises the PHA-ZE 100’s potential to deliver against its ambition to support sustainable operations. Sustainability does not have to mean a compromise in comfort or capability and the PHA-ZE 100 has been designed to meet these needs. 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 airframe will be delivered in a baseline configuration for 19 passengers, with the deal including ground support equipment for charging and replacing the PHA-ZE 100’s batteries; tools and component support for the first year of operation; training for two pilots and two technicians; and a three-year airframe warranty.
With offices in Sweden and Dubai, Gayo Aviation plans to make the aircraft available for environmental and experiential tourism and charter operators wishing to bolster their sustainable transport options. Gayo will also offer the aircraft on lease for scheduled affordable regional services in underserved communities.
Gisle Dueland, CEO of Gayo Aviation, said: “We are delighted to be the first customer to sign an LOI with Jekta for this impressive, versatile and comfortable airframe. We want to be among the first to provide our customers with a truly sustainable option to transport their passengers. With the potential to reduce per-passenger-per-hour costs by more than 70% compared to current seaplanes we can satisfy that need. 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 and Gayo is committed to supporting this expansion.”
The PHA-ZE 100 is made from composites and is powered by ten electric motors supplied with energy from batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. It will be certified to EASA CS-23 and US FAA FAR-23 and will operate from coastal waters with waves up to 1.2m high, lakes, waterways and runways.
Alafinov said Jetka is in negotiations with a second potential customer located in the Gulf and that the aircraft is generating a lot of interest from a wide range of companies.
He explained: “Low maintenance and fuel costs, plus minimal aviation infrastructure requirements, position the PHA-ZE 100 as an essential community transport asset. This might be for communities that need access to air transport at affordable prices (think Africa); island nations needing environmentally-friendly commuter aircraft (think the islands of Dubai); as well as for more-established countries where commuting by air is prohibited due to environmental pollution and noise regulations, such as Switzerland for example.”
He added: We’re also receiving interest from areas that haven’t always been associated with aviation. For example, as cruise liners are entering an era where they need to be carbon neutral, the opportunity to use zero-emission amphibious aircraft will add a new string to their bow."
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