Wing-in-Ground Craft Startup Regent Secures $300M Leasing Deal

Full-scale mockup of the Regent Viceroy "seaglider" (Regent)

Published May 6, 2024 6:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

Regent, the manufacturer of a line of battery-electric wing-in-ground craft, has secured a $300 million purchase-and-lease agreement with green shipping finance company Monte Maritime. 

Regent's WIG craft - which it calls a "seaglider" (no relation to the class of autonomous submersibles) - is an increasingly popular option for sustainable coastal travel. Regent has sold over 600 units of its popular Viceroy model, and more sales are coming in all the time, says Adam Triolo, VP of Commercial Business Development at Regent.

Working with Monte, the company can now offer a leasing option to acquire a wing-in-ground passenger aircraft and begin operations. Monte will buy up to $300 million worth of Regent's seagliders to lease to customers under the framework agreement. The product also includes financing for shoreside charging networks and port facilities. 

“We will provide a full turn-key solution, through vessel and infrastructure financing, for operators looking for zero-emissions travel,” said Timothy Eyre, Chief Operating Officer at Monte. “Working together to offer an easy-to-operate, full-package electric transport solution will help to accelerate the much-needed decarbonization of the regional maritime industry.”  

The Rhode Island-based company began quarter-scale flight tests in 2022, unveiled its first full-scale mockup in April 2023 and plans its next stage of flight testing sometime this year. Its objective is to offer commuters the speed of an airplane with the lower cost and regulatory burden of a vessel. Its next steps include plans to expand its global headquarters in Rhode Island with up to 600,000 square feet of new manufacturing and test facilities.

"Our studies, based on publicly validated data, show that our seagliders serve an $11 billion market that we project to swell to as much as $25 billion as battery technology advances. The $8 billion in orders our company has already received from a variety of companies around the world reflect the need for fast, reliable, and sustainable maritime transportation," said Regent co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer last year. 

A Singaporean competitor, Wigetworks, secured its first orders for its "Airfish" wing-in-ground craft earlier this year. The initial order is for a Turkish company that wants to use the semi-flying vessels for tourist operations.