Seaplane operators European Coastal Airlines (ECA), who suspended all operations in Croatia in 2016, just two years after their first flight, have stated that they aim to be back connecting Croatian islands with the mainland in 2018.
“ECA and the seaplanes project on the Adriatic coast is currently in the restructuring phase in the pre-trade settlement process with the plan of establishing new ownership relations and renewal of investment between existing and new investors”, ECA Managing Director Klaus Dieter Martin told Poslovni.hr.
Martin says that ECA is will aim to re-establish traffic at its 11 established water runways on the islands and on the Adriatic coast from next year.
In October 2016 ECA issued a statement saying that all domestic and international flights were cancelled until further notice after shareholders saw no other alternative following the grounding of their planes by Croatian authorities.
Back in August 2016, during the height of the tourist season, ECA’s aircraft were grounded after safety and maintenance of the seaplanes was questioned.
Despite ECA insisting their planes met all requirements, they remained grounded during the busy summer period resulting in a loss of millions of euros and having a devastating effect on the company with 130 people employed by ECA losing their jobs.
“Therefore, in addition to the company’s restructuring and new investment process, the owners are seeking legal and moral satisfaction from the Croatian courts for the grossly disputed expertise and legality of the company’s business which has seen 22 million euros invested in Croatia, five seaports and a network of 11 airports on the water established, and had transported 500 passengers per day to 60 lines between the coast and the Adriatic islands, employing 130 people,” Martin added.
After launching in 2014 with a Split-Jelsa (Hvar) service, ECA went on to connect other locations and islands, including Korčula, Hvar, Rab, Pag, Dubrovnik, Lastovo, Vis, Lošinj, Rijeka, Zadar, Zagreb, and Ancona and Pescara in Italy.