MEHAIR orders 50 electrically-powered seaplanes from Jekta

Bolstering amphibious aircraft fleet in India


July 7, 2023

/ By / New Delhi

MEHAIR orders 50 electrically-powered seaplanes from Jekta

First deliveries of the aircraft will begin in 2029 to MEHAIR in Asia

Indian seaplane operator MEHAIR has signed a deal with Swiss startup Jekta, manufacturer of PHA-ZE 100 amphibious aircraft for supply of 50 aircraft.

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Swiss startup Jekta has received an order for 50 electrically powered regional amphibious aircraft PHA-ZE 100, from the Mumbai-based Indian seaplane operator Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR).

According to a press statement by Jekta, the deal confirms deposits for 10 firm orders and options for 40 more. With the agreement confirmed, MEHAIR will be the first customer to receive the aircraft in Asia, with initial deliveries starting in 2029.

“We know the Jekta team’s heritage for producing efficient amphibious aircraft and made a strategic decision to acquire these aircraft early. We want to be one of the first aviation companies in the world to operate a zero-emissions aircraft to support regional flights between land and water infrastructure,” says Siddharth Verma, Director of MEHAIR.

According to the deal, the first 10 aircraft will be delivered in baseline configuration for 19 passengers to support regional connectivity. MEHAIR, which has been operating seaplanes since 2011, says that the new order will update its fleet with a more sustainable option.

The statement adds that the electrically-powered, all-composite PHA-ZE 100 amphibious airframe will be powered by 10 electric motors supplied with energy from batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. The aircrafts will operate from coastal waters in waves up to 1.2m high, lakes, waterways, and runways, the latter using its standard retractable wheeled landing gear.

“Blessed with a 7,400 km long coastline and a rich diversity of rivers, lakes, backwaters and dams, India is readying for the amphibious aircraft revolution. We are one of the fastest-growing aviation sectors and the world’s largest untapped seaplane geography. The PHA-ZE 100 checks all the boxes for meeting this amphibious potential, and we are confident that the affordable airframe will transform the way India travels,” he adds.

MEHAIR already operates seaplane services supporting air travel between cities and destinations virtually inaccessible by land infrastructure. The Mumbai-based company says that it has served destinations across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as well as Maharashtra and is adding new routes under the government of India’s UDAN regional connectivity scheme, which aims to connect small towns in India through subsidised air routes and infrastructure development.

The Jekta PHA-ZE 100 attributes, which include low maintenance and fuel costs, much-reduced noise, no pollution impact, and minimal aviation infrastructure, combine to make the airframe an optimal platform for sustainable and new routes across the region, says the aircraft operator.

It adds that the PHA-ZE 100 amphibious flying boat will be certified to EASA CS-23 and US FAA FAR-23 standards for fixed-wing passenger aircraft. It is optimised to serve coastal and island communities, regional routes currently limited by operational costs, and to support new low-cost, sustainable services between cities without the need to install expensive land infrastructure. Flexible configurations, including 19-seat, mixed economy/freight, VIP, and ambulance options, make the most of the PHA-ZE 100’s spacious, stand-up cabin.

“MEHAIR’s proposed operations and future vision exemplify the potential of our airframe to align with the needs of a growing population seeking to travel regionally, whether from water or land. We aim to drastically reduce per-passenger-per-hour flight costs compared with existing seaplanes, we are exploring the options for redefining single pilot operations in the commercial sector, and we are committed to attracting a new workforce into aviation, all of which will support Indian amphibious operations,” says George Alafinov, CEO Jekta Switzerland.

“We know that the Indian government has defined multiple water routes across India and is launching some 100 seaplane routes. We are delighted to work with MEHAIR to cater to this new and exciting market’s dynamic demands,” he says.



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