Greece’s new government leadership has pledged to establish seaplane routes islands and coastal destinations without airports, according to reports.
The initiative aims to simplify Greece’s regulatory and licensing framework pertaining to seaplane usage.
Greek governments have tried to establish permanent seaplane routes for more than two decades. But their efforts have been repeatedly soiled by bureaucratic “red tape” processes and concerns about commercial plausibility.
Test seaplane routes are expected to begin in spring 2020, at the latest. The government has promised to reduce the number of licenses required as well as to clarify the new regulations for take-off and landing points around the country.
If approved, the first seaplane routes will reportedly launch in the Ionian Sea islands and on the western Greek mainland.
In a television interview (see video below) with SKAI News, Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis said that seaplanes will be operating in 2020.
“The difference with this government compared to all of the previous ones is that we are tired of discussing the same things and we want to see them happen,” Georgiadis said. “Next year at this time, seaplanes will be flying.”
Two private seaplane companies — Greek Water Airports and Hellenic Seaplanes — are currently active in the country and awaiting approval to begin commercial operations.
Hellenic Seaplanes officials have stated that they’ve already attracted private financing from domestic and foreign investors, as well as support from government officials.
In February, the company released a preview of its design for a metropolitan waterfront investment project in Elefsina, a coastal town 11 miles northwest from the center of Athens.
In April 2019, the company announced an agreement with Greek-Mexican aviation entrepreneur Ricardo Farias Nikolopoulos. The agreement came out of a meeting in Athens between Nikolopoulos, Hellenic Seaplanes President & CEO Nicolas Charalambous and Patmos Mayor Gregory Stoikos.
The trio discussed the possible creation of a Patmos waterway as well as Nikolopoulos’ intention to invest in additional projects on the island.
Stoikos said the meeting was of “great importance” for the island and expressed optimism about the possibility of a Patmos waterfront.
“The Patmos waterfront will support our island and the surrounding islands financially and at the same time serve both Greek and foreign visitors,” the mayor said. “Our municipality has probably taken the most important step in developing Aegean waterways since we will build the first Aegean waterway.”
In August, Hellenic Seaplanes officials met with Yiannis Kefalogiannis, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, who reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting the development of seaplane routes in Greece.
“The [ministry] is rapidly improving the institutional framework with the goal of launching a significant number of waterways as soon as possible, especially in the coming summer tourist season of 2020,” Kefalogiannis said. “We are therefore actively supporting this investment initiative, contributing substantially to the first sustainable waterway network and shaping a new development landscape [in Greece].”
Interview With Adonis Georgiadis
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