The launch of seaplane flight services planned for the Summer of 2021 is set to make Greece “the Maldives of Europe,” said Nicolas Charalambous, CEO of seaplane operator Hellenic Seaplanes on Wednesday.
Charalambous met with Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Ioannis Kefalogiannis in Athens to provide the Greek official with an update on the debut of Hellenic Seaplanes’ flight schedule and reservation system, expected to be announced within days.
Following the meeting, the Deputy Minister revealed that the large lakes of Greece are now also included in the planning of seaplane transportation routes.
Rapid expansion of seaplane network
“The process of licensing water aerodromes was simplified, and we saw within a year, despite the obstacles brought about by the coronavirus, that the interest around their creation and the arrival of seaplanes increases,” Charalambous noted.
“The good cooperation of public stakeholders with business and investment initiatives is the key to intensify the collective efforts, so that the network of water aerodromes comes to life, making Greece the Maldives of Europe,” he added.
Three water aerodromes, or airports, in Corfu, Paxoi, and Patra, are already licensed, while dozens more across the country are halfway through their licensing procedures, under the initiative of their respective prefectures.
Lakes in Greece also serviced by seaplane flights
Last week, Deputy Minister Kefalogiannis traveled to Western Macedonia in Northern Greece to overview developments with regard to the five seaplane airports being constructed around lakes in the area.
In the follow-up from the meeting with Charalambous, he attested that the Government and the Ministry of Transport will help create a strong network which will effectively support the development of a domestic seaplane industry, offering an extra competitive advantage for more transport options for Greek residents and tourists.
“The water aerodromes network projects are most important investments for the Greek economy and the national transport infrastructure network. The islands of Greece are a priority, and our goal is to start seaplane flights across the country,” the Deputy Minister added.
Seaplane service ventures gain momentum in Greece
Hellenic Seaplanes, which was established in 2013 in Athens, has been working on its water aerodrome and seaplane service development strategy ever since that time.
Last week, however, a second seaplane operator named Grecian Air announced its own plans to begin offering seaplane flights in Greece beginning in September of 2021.
In its founding announcement, Grecian Air highlighted how Greece’s Polynesian-like geography with its famous 16,000-kilometer (9,942-mile) coastline makes the country an ideal place for seaplane service.
Such transportation could improve access to many holiday resorts and poorly-connected islands and thus further boost the domestic tourism industry.
The venture is reportedly financed by a German fund which invests in Grecian Air through the Axionair company.