Imagine sidling your seaplane right up to wildlife slurping from a stream at a national park, or diving directly off your waterborne aircraft at the Great Barrier Reef—no commuter flights, Jeep trips or dive charters necessary.
One Swiss company is working to bring this vision into reality: an all-electric amphibious plane that can land on water, helping shuttle commuters across archipelagoes and transport tourists to remote spots while generating less pollution than traditional gas-powered aircraft.
“Suddenly, areas that were difficult to reach or had limitations due to ecological regulations are accessible,” George Alafinov, CEO of Switzerland-based Jekta, tells Robb Report.
The PHA-ZE 100 (Passenger Hydro Aircraft Zero Emission 100) will be able to cruise up to 100 miles at 10,000 feet when customers begin taking delivery in late 2028, according to Alafinov.
The plane comes in seven configurations, catering to customers from commuters to moguls with private islands. Designs include a 19-passenger economy jet; an executive layout with four premium and nine economy seats; and a VIP model featuring a salon with couches and four seats to rival the dimensions of a Boeing 777 business class ticket. The PHA-ZE 100 can also serve as an ambulance or carry cargo bound for hard-to-reach locations.
“Luxury travel is about the destination but also how to get there,” Alafinov says. “It can be tiresome, and it can take away from what lies ahead.”
Alafinov notes that the PHA-ZE 100 is gentler on the environment than current options because electric planes are quieter, and water takeoffs and landings preclude the need for new airports.
For millions of islanders commuting to work, “instead of spending 40 minutes by boat, they can be in the city center in 10 minutes,” he says.
The technology to achieve the feat is still open to debate. Jekta is targeting a 45-minute charge time, but that would require high-voltage technology still in development.
The company is open to the possibility of using hydrogen instead of battery-electric technology. Hydrogen would allow the plane to fly longer distances, but the refueling infrastructure is still in its infancy. Meanwhile, since battery technology is expected to improve exponentially this decade, the PHA-ZE 100’s design places the batteries in the wing “so that the operator can switch out the batteries without needing to buy a new aircraft,” according to Alafinov.
“We need to think about how it’s going to be used in 30 years,” he says, “so we need to future-proof it now.”