Subic eyed as distribution hub for ultra-light flying boats

A Ramphos amphibious ultra-light flying boat takes off in Subic Bay last week, demonstrating the versatility of the leisure craft.

An Italian company which manufactures ultra-light aircraft has relocated its base of operation​s​ in this premier ​F​reeport to take advantage of Subic’s ideal position as ​a ​product distribution center.

Ramphos Corporation, owned and operated by Italian designer Enos Gaiga, has been in the business of making ultra-light aircraft in Italy since 1998. However, seeing the huge potential of Subic in transhipping product​s​ to other parts of the world, Gaiga brought the business to Subic in 2015 and made his first ultra-light flying boat here last year.

“The reason we relocated here is the potential of transhipping our product to other parts of the world without much hassle,” Gaiga explained. “Moreover, Filipinos are great craftsmen when it comes to manufacturing boats and vehicles.”

Gaiga said the firm’s first ultra-light flying boat, which was called Ramphos amphibious, was made in 1998 for recreational use. The next year the model saw commercial production.

According to Gaiga, Ramphos flying boats are easy to fly and can be used for sight-seeing tours, fishing, adventure trips, search and rescue operations, sea and river patrol, light cargo delivery and even special military operations.

In 2003, Ramphos won the best trike of the year award at the Sun and Fun air show in Florida.

So far, Ramphos products have been sold in 32 countries worldwide, with the Ramphos amphibious priced at around P1.9 milion.

The flying boat has been certified under different civil aviation authorities, among them in Europe, United States, Australia, China, Canada and Mexico.

As a registered investor in the Subic Bay Freeport, the Ramphos Corporation plans to sell its ultra-light flying boats to resort owners and sports enthusiasts here.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the company is a welcome addition to the growing number of investors in Subic, and expressed optimism that more ultra-light flying boats are made in the Subic Bay Freeport. (Dante M. Salvana)

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