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European Coastal Airlines could be reborn European Coastal Airlines could be reborn

Could Australian and Arab investment see the rebirth of seaplanes in Croatia

Written by  Aug 28, 2017

Over the past three summer seasons, seaplanes became common sight in Croatia. At first, it was a real attraction for locals, but later it proved a significant and an integral part of summer maritime and air scene.

European Coastal Airlines operated services to fifteen destinations along the Croatian coast and between islands with four De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. An hour-long pleasant flight took passengers from the city of Split to the islands of Mali Losinj, Korcula, Hvar, Rab, Pag, Lastovo, and Vis as well as to Dubrovnik, Zadar, Rijeka, Zagreb, Ancona and Pescara in Italy. The flight prices were favourable thus, it is not surprising that during only three summer seasons seaplanes in Croatia carried around 40,000 passengers.

According to data from European Coastal Airlines (ECA), in 2014, 2015 and partly in 2016, ECA aircraft carried around 500 passengers per day.

Regardless of the good business results, the airline was grounded in August 2016 when its air operator’s certificate (AOC) was temporarily withdrawn by the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency, apparently due to safety concerns. Because of ongoing legal discussions, the airline suspended all operations and cancelled 130 jobs. In December 2016, the CEO announced that operations would resume in 2017. However, as of February 2017, company's website and Facebook page were not updated with any new information and no flights were resumed by the end of July.

Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. According to the latest information, some serious investors are interested in the project of taking over ECA and seaplane flights on the Adriatic. The rumour says it is the Airways company, which is officially registered in Montenegro.

In case of taking over the seaplane traffic on the Adriatic, the Airways company backed by Australian and Arab capital, should obtain the operating license from the European Union because they want to enter small aircraft traffic in Croatia, which is an EU member country.

Apart from the operating license, potential investors in seaplanes on the Adriatic will also need landing and take-off concessions, which European Costal Airlines had obtained, but cannot be automatically conveyed to a new company-buyer.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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