Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Brittany Ferries exploring potential of airborne sea-skimming ferry

Brittany Ferries is exploring the concept of a new high-speed, sustainable and more efficient form of ferry travel.

The seaglider concept is an all-electric, wing-in-ground effect vehicle (WIG), under development in at Boston-based start-up REGENT (Regional Electric Ground Effect Nautical Transport).

Brittany Ferries has signed a letter of intent which could see seagliders with a 50-150 passenger capacity sailing between the UK and France by 2028.

REGENT expects the first commercial passengers to travel on smaller electric craft by 2025.

Seagliders are a combination of the benefits of passenger ferries hydrofoils, hovercraft and conventional aircraft.

The craft are expected to fly at speeds of up to 180 mph - six times faster than conventional ferries and have a battery range of about 180 miles.

The voyage from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, for example, could be completed in as little as 40 minutes.

The seaglider concept can move significant loads over long distances at high speed.

Flight safety comes courtesy of redundant propulsion and flight control systems, with next-generation sensor suites detecting and automatically avoiding traffic at sea.

"Seaglider is an attractive and exciting concept and we look forward to working with REGENT in the months and years to come," said Frédéric Pouget, ports and operations director for Brittany Ferries.

REGENT is working on several different sizes of passenger-carrying seagliders, all of which operate on the same principle.

With next-generation battery power, they have the capability of serving routes of up to 500 miles.

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