Global seaplane industry outlines plan for growth at FOSAA | Airlines

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A large cross-section of the global amphibious aircraft community converged in Venice on March 20, 2024, to attend a brand new conference, the Future Opportunities for Seaplanes and Amphibious Aviation (FOSAA), dedicated to this segment of the industry.

Once the dominant form of commercial air travel, seaplanes fell out of favor in the years after the Second World War. Following the advent of the jet era and unable to compete with larger and more cost-efficient airliners, amphibious aviation was relegated to small niches, such as firefighting and tourist flights.

However, after decades on the fringes, amphibious aviation is currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts. A new generation of entrepreneurs is determined to reclaim the more central role seaplanes once played in the industry.

But renewed interest in this form of aviation is not only driven by nostalgia. First, there are the potential opportunities afforded by the fact that most of the world’s population lives near water. There are also cost-reducing, efficiency-enhancing advances in areas such as composite materials, electric propulsion and aerodynamics prompting many in the industry to look at amphibious aviation with fresh eyes.

AeroTime attended the inaugural one-day conference in Venice to take the pulse of the modern seaplane industry and meet with some of the professionals engaged in this new era of amphibious aviation.

One element that stood out is the degree to which new seaplane developers have embraced sustainability as a core tenet. It is safe to say that any potential future development of the seaplane industry is inextricably linked to the success of new, cleaner forms of propulsion that minimize or eliminate carbon emissions. It is also significant that two of the frontrunners in the quest to bring seaplanes back into the mainstream are both startups working on native electric propulsion designs.

The vibrant seaplane startup scene

Norwegian startup Elfly and Jekta, which is…

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