European Coastal Airlines, a scheduled seaplane service that was launched in Croatia two years ago, has suspended all operations until the business environment becomes “trustworthy.” All flights from ECA were halted in August this year after the company’s Air Operators Certificate was revoked after an audit into the safety procedures of the German owned airline. A statement from ECA read that “we will no longer invest any funds into the Croatian seaplane project until the administrational situation has been resolved, giving us the opportunity to operate in a safe and trustworthy marketplace.”
According to reports on the specialised website EX-Yu Aviation the seaplane company has tried on several occasions to solve the problem with the Croatian government and other authorities but had become caught in the complicated red tape and bureaucracy. “The shareholders of European Coastal Airlines do not see any alternative than to suspend operations for the time being. This comes at a high cost of almost every operational job within our company, however, we have been left with no other choice to protect the investments implemented until today,” added ECA.
The launch of ECA was generally greeted with enthusiasm, the seaplanes connected islands and coastal destinations with regular flights at affordable prices. The company invested into seaports and infrastructure in Croatia, a total of around 22 million Euros, and had plans to expand the service all along the Croatia coastline. This year ECA had even started international flights to Italy and Montenegro. Getting the business off the ground in Croatia was a mammoth task and took ECA around 14 years to get up and running, further proof of the ultra-complicated paperwork. "It comes with the greatest regret to inform the public about these developments, nevertheless we feel the necessity to make everyone understand the situation we are in", concluded ECA.