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Southwest Joins the Hawaiʻi Seaglider Initiative


As Southwest Airlines continues to focus on our Nonstop to Net Zero strategy, including our goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we recognize we can’t do it alone! Partnerships play a crucial role in our sustainability efforts, so we partner with different organizations and nonprofits whose work complements our efforts to advance environmental sustainability. Today, we are excited to share that Southwest has joined the Hawaiʻi Seaglider Initiative (HSI). So what are seagliders, who is the company behind them, and what is this initiative all about?


Seagliders are a new mode of transportation designed to combine the speed of an aircraft with the relatively lower cost of a boat to reduce the time and cost of transporting people and goods between coastal destinations. The seagliders, being developed by Rhode Island-based manufacturer REGENT, are designed to be completely powered by battery electric motors with zero emissions. These vessels are intended to fly just above the water, taking advantage of ground effect, which is a reduction in drag that occurs when flying close to the surface.


The potential benefit is that with less drag there is improved performance, and less thrust is required to fly, which enables greater range from the battery technology. REGENT expects seagliders to enter into service by mid-decade. They have a team of MIT trained, former Boeing engineers leading the effort to bring a seaglider to market. With our membership, we will 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 Hawaiʻi. This month, HSI will kick off a series of member-led discussion groups focused on Community and Culture, Infrastructure, Resiliency, and Workforce and Education.


To be clear, this technology is still being developed. 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.


Southwest has served the Hawaiian Islands since 2019, operating at five airports in the Aloha State while supporting local Hawaii nonprofits with over $3.2 million in cash and in-kind donations. Participation in HSI marks the first public engagement on battery-electric propulsion technology for Southwest. Our agreement with HSI shows our Heart for Hawaii, its residents, and our Customers as we explore technology that has the potential to support us on our Nonstop to Net Zero journey!



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