Swiss start-up Jekta Aviation unveiled plans for an electric 19-seater seaplane at the recent Abu Dhabi Air Expo, reports the company’s website. Jekta claims “it could transform flight connections between oceanside communities and those with access to suitable rivers and lakes.” Named the PHA-ZE 100, the amphibian craft will offer a range of around 94 miles, carry up to 19 passengers, at speeds of close to 155 mph.

Describing the aircraft as “a representative of green aviation,” Jekta states the PHA-ZE 100 is a passenger hydro-amphibian with zero emissions and asserts “that means the lowest cost per passenger possible and the possibility to be used with low or no ground amenities at all.”

The company continues, “The use of a new electric seaplane will create a segment of sustainable transport mobility for the population living in megacities and small settlements located on the coast of the seas and oceans, connect islands, and preserve the unique nature of wildlife sanctuaries that have become popular as tourists’ attractions.”

The Jekta Team at Abu Dhabi Air Expo

George Alafinov, CEO of Jekta Switzerland, commented, “Investors, production partners and operators see the PHA-ZE 100 as the one to revive the economy of coastal and island states, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

He continued, “Jekta brings together specialists from various countries with many years of experience in the design, production and operation of amphibious seaplanes. Unlike its predecessors, the PHA-ZE 100 is made of modern composite materials, equipped with modern navigation and piloting systems and an electric propulsion system, and provides commuter passengers with comfortable flight conditions.” Adding, “Norway has shown great interest in this aircraft and held talks with Jekta at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo for the purchase of several PHA-ZE 100s.”

The name PHA-ZE stands for Passenger Hybrid Aircraft Zero Emissions even though the initial version is expected to have a fully battery-electric propulsion system. Published drawings show 10 propellers, each with its own 180-kilowatt electric motor, mounted on a 98 ft wing. Jekta has also indicated it may consider an alternative hydrogen-powered version using fuel cells.

With a projected maximum takeoff weight not exceeding 19,000 pounds, Jekta aims to certify the PHA-ZE 100 under existing EASA CS-23 regulations. It is proposing other variants of the aircraft including a cargo carrier and a high end version, offering a much more spacious cabin, for small numbers of executive travellers.

The company estimates that with current technology it would take no more than 45 minutes to fully recharge the batteries, while also designing a process for changing batteries between flights.

Jekta is currently seeking new investors to support its business. The company is based at the Swiss Aeropole business park at Payerne Airport and has over 20 years experience of manufacturing amphibian aircraft.

For more information

(images: Jekta)