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Mon, Mar 18, 2024

Southwest Airlines Joins Seaglider Project

"Nonstop to Net Zero" Strategy Finds New Project

Southwest Airlines is joining an initiative to bring the Regent Seaglider to the Hawai'ian travel market.

The novel hybrid aircraft/watercraft isn't exactly a totally brand-new idea in theory, but making one a profitable passenger carrier is. Southwest, reeling from a lack of Boeing deliveries, an expensive new contract with pilots, and a downsized flight schedule may be looking to garner some good press at a nice low cost. As such, they hopped along with the Hawai'i Seaglider Initiative, a consortium of local, government, and private sector folks in the island state that believe the Seaglider is key to rejuvenating point-to-point transport.

Southwest has so far committed to a simple method of being included that comes at fairly low cost - at least in comparison to competitors placing multimillion-dollar orders for similarly sustainable aviation tech. William Sanders, a PR spokesman at the airline, said the carrier's membership status would allow them to "be a partner in funding a research study that will help us understand the feasibility of establishing an inter-island and intra-island seaglider network in Hawai?i," and it could well be assumed that Southwest would join in with the Seaglider Initiative on a series of member-led discussion groups focused on "Community and Culture, Infrastructure, Resiliency, and Workforce and Education".

Sanders stressed that there's no deeper commitment to the Seaglider at this time, since the tech remains in development. "While we are not ordering any seagliders at this time, we feel it’s important to participate in the feasibility study to explore the introduction of 100% electric, zero direct emissions technology that aligns with our own Nonstop to Net Zero plan."

FMI: www.southwest.com

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