European Coastal Airlines (ECA), who have had their fleet of seaplanes grounded in Croatia since 13 August 2016 due to not having a Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to conduct commercial air transport, have announced that they will resume operations again on Thursday…
ECA posted a message to customers on their Facebook page on Monday afternoon announcing that they now have got all the paperwork together and will fly again from 25 August 2016.
To recap, on Saturday 13 August 2016 one of Croatia’s leading portal’s, Index.hr, published an article questioning the safety and maintenance of the seaplanes. The portal, quoting a former ECA employer, said that maintenance procedures that should be routinely carried out were done in a sloppy manner and only just enough to satisfy requirements. Index’s source said that some of the planes vital parts were neglected and corrosion had impacted the planes making parts ‘weak’.
The article went on to say that the planes increasingly had issues and that ‘improvisation’ was used with replacement parts which was ‘completely ‘illegal’ and ‘very dangerous’.
ECA CEO Klaus Dieter Martin responded with a statement via Social Media suggesting that disgruntled former ECA workers were out to seek ‘revenge’ on the company with the story and that additional administrational tasks requested by the CCAA (Croatian Civil Aviation Authority) were being fulfilled to get back up and running.
“The CCAA, various media houses and other institutions have been given false internal information by these former employees, as a revenge to our company. Naturally and thankfully, the CCAA has been at an audit and will proceed auditing our efforts. We highly appreciate this, as our utmost priority is the safety of our passengers. For this reason we have for the time being – discontinued our flight operations. We are happy to proof our ability to operate safe, reliable and comfortable at competitive pricing, once the last single doubt in regards to the quality of our work has been eliminated,” wrote Martin on the airline’s official Facebook page.
ECA announced that they would be back up in the air again on Friday 19 August 2016 but another delay saw Martin take to Facebook again.
“As you know, European Coastal Airlines has paused its operations since last Saturday, 13.08.2016 due to additional administrational tasks requested by the authorities. For the time being our Flight Operation (and our „AOC“ – Airline Operation Certificate) is therefore on hold. A long weekend has past and my team has collected additionally requested paperwork for the authorities and has submitted those.”
If everything goes according to plan flights will resume on Thursday 25 August 2016. ECA, which launched on the Croatian coast in 2014, has a fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes.