REGENT charts flight path with Surf Air to bring electric seaglider service to Miami

‘South Florida stands out as a massive opportunity’ – REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer

By Riley Kaminer

Electric seagliders are coming to South Florida sooner than you might think, thanks to a just-announced deal with REGENT, the Boeing of seagliders, and regional electric aviation company Surf Air Mobility.

The two companies are coming together to connect cities across Florida and beyond via seagliders: electric-powered vehicles that fly right above the water. While the exact routes are still being developed, those under consideration include flights between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach and the west coast of Florida – as well as those that connect South Florida with the Keys and the Bahamas.

“South Florida stands out as a massive opportunity,” REGENT co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer told Refresh Miami. “You have a growing area with coastal communities. You have a massive car infrastructure already, as well as Brightline – but there’s still massive untapped connectivity via the ocean.”

“REGENT seagliders are a great solution to the growing transportation needs of residents and visitors in Miami and South Florida,” Stan Little, CEO of Surf Air Mobility, shared in a statement. “By leveraging our platform at Surf Air to bring new, electrified transportation to market, we believe REGENT seagliders can unlock new routes along Florida’s coastal corridors that complement our existing service networks and furthers our commitment to operating an electrified fleet.”

REGENT’s first product, which aims to go into production within the next two to three years, will hold 12 passengers and fly up to 180 miles at 180 miles per hour. As new battery technology is developed, Thalheimer said that operators will be able to upgrade the seagliders they already have. “You can make modular shifts as the technology improves and now have a far more capable vehicle,” he said.

Eventually, the company hopes to launch a seaglider to fit 100 people.

While the exact cost of these seagliders is under wraps, Thalheimer asserted that consumers can expect to spend about half as much compared to a traditional airline ticket. “That’s because the maintenance costs are much lower and because we don’t use any fuel – we use electricity.”

An interesting differentiator for REGENT is that its vehicles are under the jurisdiction of maritime authorities rather than aviation authorities. However, Thalheimer emphasized that REGENT’s seagliders follow the same safety criteria as airplanes. “Safety drives our entire development program.”

Now with 55 employees, REGENT was founded in late 2020. Last week, it raised a $60 million Series A funding round co-led by Founders Fund and 8090 Industries, and has attracted $90 million to date. The company reports that it has already received orders for more than 500 seagliders from airlines and ferry operators around the world, representing about $8 billion in future revenue.

REGENT’s vice president of commercial business development, Adam Triolo, is based in Miami. “We made a very intentional decision to base Adam in Miami,” Thalheimer said, noting that Triolo plays a key role in coordinating with Surf Air, the city, the county, and others.

“Miami-Dade County is leading the way in building a vibrant economy, environment, and transportation system that serves our rapidly growing population,” Oliver G. Gilbert III, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Miami-Dade County, commented. “Adding seagliders into our network of advanced mobility technologies will grow our state and local economies and serve as a model for metropolitan transportation networks worldwide.”

REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer unveiled a prototype of REGENT’s all-electric seaglider at the CoMotion conference at Mana Wynwood in Miami in 2022.


Riley Kaminer