Nearly 100 business, community and government leaders gathered at the Pacific Club in downtown Honolulu on June 23 to celebrate a major milestone for Hawai‘i: the collaborative partnership of REGENT, Pacific Current, and Southern Airways, parent of Mokulele Airlines, to develop the first all-electric seaglider network for inter-island and intra-island travel.
The outdoor evening event, emceed by Kelly Simek, host of KHON2’s “Empowered” environmental series, gave the three companies an opportunity to express their appreciation for the thumbs-up support from the community and to share their collective vision for seagliders in Hawai‘i:
Mike Klinker, REGENT’s co-founder and chief technology officer, gave the guests a glimpse into innovative seaglider technology, including a video of hydrofoil testing with a quarter scale seaglider prototype.
Scott Valentino, president of Pacific Current, a Hawaiian Electric Industries subsidiary focused on the development of renewable energy infrastructure, shared his commitment to partner with REGENT to undertake a Hawai‘i feasibility study that will look into potential seaglider routes and locations for electric charging stations.
Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways, shared Mokulele Airlines’ ongoing commitment to meet the inter-island travel needs of residents and businesses. Little said he is looking forward to being the first airline in Hawai‘i to offer a seaglider network to provide more options for residents and visitors alike.
Avi Mannis, senior vice president - chief marketing and communications officer for Hawaiian Airlines, also was present with other Hawaiian Airlines colleagues Jim Snook, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Alanna James, managing director of sustainability initiatives. Mannis spoke about Hawaiian’s strategic investment as REGENT’s design partner to develop the Monarch, a larger, 100-passenger seaglider for potential inter-island passenger travel.
The three companies invited other leaders from the community to share a few words. Hawai‘i Sen. Chris Lee, who has been serving as the chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, was clearly proud of the progress the state is making to shift toward more renewable energy use and reducing carbon emissions from transportation. He noted the value of government policies in setting targets and incentivizing businesses to help Hawai‘i move forward.
Melissa Miyashiro, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation, also shared about Hawaii’s green energy aspirations and saw how seagliders align with the state’s goals.