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NZ$145M Financing Partnership For Seagliders For New Zealand

Sustainable maritime transport pioneer Ocean Flyer and global asset manager MONTE have signed a NZ$145 million deal to finance the acquisition of REGENT’s all-electric seagliders to operate in New Zealand in a major milestone for the deployment of seagliders across the country.

MONTE will finance the first NZ$145 million of Ocean Flyer's historic NZ$700m agreement signed in April 2022 with US-based manufacturer REGENT to bring 25 seagliders to New Zealand. Ocean Flyer’s mission is to revolutionise travel in New Zealand by connecting communities across the country in what is believed to be the country’s largest ever private investment in transport.

‘This initiative marks a significant step in Ocean Flyer’s mission to enhance prosperity and economic development in the regions, through efficient and affordable connectivity,’ said Shah Aslam, CEO of Ocean Flyer.

Timothy Eyre, Chief Operating Officer of MONTE said, ‘we are delighted to announce this agreement and our long term, strategic partnership with Ocean Flyer, which represents MONTE Maritime’s first operator agreement. Ocean Flyer are pioneers in the sustainable maritime sector with a strong commitment to decarbonisation. We are excited to work with the Ocean Flyer team to bring sustainable seaglider operations to New Zealand and the wider market.’

Today’s deal with MONTE, a UK-based investor which has arranged financing for more than NZ$42 billion of transportation assets over the last 30 years, paves the way for the first seagliders, which are zero-emission, high-speed electric wing-in-ground effect vessels developed by a team of MIT graduates and ex-Boeing engineers. REGENT is backed by high-profile, innovative investors Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban, as well as top airlines such as Japan Airlines (JAL) and Hawaiian, and defense primes in the US. The REGENT order book is now at NZ$15 billion.

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‘This has been a culmination of over a year’s worth of work. We met MONTE last year in Rhode Island during the full-scale mock-up launch of the Viceroy at REGENT headquarters. We quickly discovered that our visions for the next generation of transport mobility aligned,’ said Aslam.

‘I am buoyed by the confidence MONTE’s investment in Ocean Flyer shows for the seagliders. I hope their confidence in the value of seagliders as a new and exciting mode of transport can be mirrored by local investors, private or government. Seagliders offer improved connections for regional centres and a contribution to regional development and enhanced community wellbeing,’ said Aslam.

‘MONTE has been a global leader in regional transport finance for over 30 years and it is exciting to be one of the first seaglider operators in the world to partner with them to bring fast, affordable, comfortable and sustainable maritime transport to New Zealand,’ said Aslam.

‘This significant transaction not only underscores the resilience of the market but also illustrates MONTE’s confidence in Ocean Flyer’s innovative vision in setting a new benchmark for regional connectivity in New Zealand. Through this process with MONTE, and other esteemed partners, we have successfully forged a relationship poised to significantly benefit all of New Zealand. Over the coming decade, the introduction of seagliders will mark a transformation in maritime transport across regional New Zealand,’ said Aslam.

The cost of travelling domestically has been a major issue in New Zealand recently, along with service reliability and calls for more transport options. Ocean Flyer will fundamentally change public transport in a way which will not only be affordable, but also fully sustainable.

This latest achievement caps off a banner year for Ocean Flyer, highlighted by strategic MOUs with Northport and Northland Inc to spearhead the design and development of infrastructure for launching services. Additionally, agreements with MetService and MetOcean enhance Ocean Flyer’s operational capabilities in New Zealand waters, leveraging both historical and current weather data to optimise performance.

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