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Seaplane Network in Greece: Still Grounded

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Seaplane Network in Greece: Still Grounded
May 25
17:33 2015

The much talked about seaplane network in Greece will not be a reality this summer season as planned. The Greek Travel Pages recently reported that the only one waterway, out of 40 in Greece, has the license to operate at this time.

Licensing Problems

In the mid-May article, the president of Hellenic Seaplanes, Nikolas Charalambous had met with the Alternate Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, Christos Spirtzis. Charalambous said that only one destination so far, the island of Corfu, has an operation license. The other 40 waterways in Greece were still in the licensing stage.

Although last year various news outlets reported that 2015 would be the year for Greece’s first seaplane network, Charalambous confirmed it would not be the case. Instead, he announced he was looking toward 2016 to be the year that the seaplane network in Greece would finally be completed. Meanwhile, Spirtzis admitted that bureaucracy had been a challenge to the licensing process. He said the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications had launched a process to overcome bureaucratic obstacles.

An article published two months earlier in March was more hopeful.  An article in New Europe pointed out that Hellenic Seaplanes still had the goal to establish as many water aerodromes as it could before the 2015 summer tourist season. The article had also mentioned the passing of a 2013 bill called, “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” that was set to remove bureaucratic obstacles to boost private investments in Greece with a “Fast Track” strategic investment procedure. The bill had even included a framework for seaplane terminals and water aerodromes in Greece.

A Seaplane Vision

Talks about a Greek seaplane network began in 2000. With more than 3,000 islands, Greece boasts the longest coastline in the whole of Europe, with over 3,000 islands, 300 of which are inhabited. A seaplane network would solve various transportation issues including the transport of certain goods. Accessibility to these ports would boost real estate investments. Fifteen years since such a network was discussed, plans never came to be due to a lack of organization and institutional framework.

Once a framework and licensing issues are complete, Hellenic Seaplanes would be the first seaplane operator in Greece. It would fly between the islands and mainland ports and lakes, connecting Greece from port to port. The network would offer scheduled flights, sightseeing tours, charter flights, resort transfers, cargo flights and medical evacuation.

When it does happen, a seaplane network in Greece would tap an untapped market for Greece – one of top tourist destinations in the world featuring picturesque islands and coastlines. The economic advantages are obvious, especially in the time of crisis.

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