French start-up manufacturer Lisa Airplanes is planning to launch a six-seat turbine-powered version of its Akoya ultralight seaplane within the next five years boosted by demand from its growing international customer base for a larger stablemate.
"The Akoya is proving very popular and our customers are calling for a bigger version of the aircraft that will enable them to transport their families, friends or colleagues," says Vanessa Troillars, manager of privately owned Lisa Airplanes.
"We had originally planned to develop a very light jet, but we quickly realised that building an experimental aircraft first was the quickest and cheapest way to enter the [business aviation] market.
"Once we have proven the concept with the Akoya we will then move on to the larger brother," she adds. This will be a traditional certificated aircraft.
The Akoya is scheduled to enter service next year and Troillard says Lisa has already chalked up 50 orders for the €300,000 ($410,000), two-seat, all-composite aircraft. These are mainly from high net-worth individuals from across the globe, Troillard says. "We plan to build up to 30 aircraft next year and up to 100 machines by 2013, which should help to raise some of the money to launch the new programme," she adds.
Details of the new aircraft are sketchy, but Troillard says the new family member will have similar features to the Akoya, including a retractable landing gear and the ability to operate from land, water and snow.
Meanwhile, Le Bourget du Lac, south-east France-based Lisa has formed an alliance with boat manufacturer Danish Yacht to co-design a submersible deck that will allow the Akoya to take off and land from the Skagen-based company's luxury shipping vessel.