Greece will begin to test the operation of water runways for seaplanes, starting from the Peloponnese. This was decided on Wednesday in a meeting between the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks Michalis Papadopoulos and the Peloponnese regional authority head Petros Tatoulis at Tripoli, central Peloponnese.
“Our goal is for seaplanes to form an alternative touristic product, not a new regular means of transportation,” Papadopoulos and Tatoulis jointly commented at the end of the meeting, adding that partnerships are expected to be created which will benefit the development of the touristic product.
The first attempt to establish a seaplane network in Greece started in 2005 when 15 licences for water airports throughout the country were issued under new laws and a pilot program had begun in the Ionian Sea. Seaplane companies pulled out by 2008, however, citing problems with the legislative framework and the lack of a seaplane link to Attica and Athens.
The legislative framework was updated in a bill passed by Parliament last April, under which a licence to operate a water airport can be issued within 65 days of submitting a technical report to the transport and networks ministry and the shipping and Aegean ministry.
Applications have already been submitted on behalf of several ports and harbour funds, including those of Corfu, Patras, Lavrio, Iraklio, Volos, Skyros, Rethymno and Zakynthos. Once permits are given, the port and harbour authorities can then lease the right to operate the water airport to seaplane companies, via a process of tender.