It has been a long battle for the team at European Coastal Airlines (ECA), but it looks like it is a battle they have finally won, after news this week that the first seaplane to transport tourists to Croatia’s Adriatic islands will take off in just over three weeks…
“The first flight will be (from Resnik, Split) to Jelsa (Hvar), Rab and Pula. Those are the destinations which we have successfully obtained concessions to put pontoons for our planes. We expect that we will also get a concession to land our planes on the island of Lastovo also,” European Coastal Airlines CEO Klaus-Dieter Martin told daily Slobodna Dalmacija, adding that they have battled local bureaucracy for the last five years to obtain permits so that their seaplanes could connect Croatia’s islands with the mainland.
According to portal Total Hvar, ECA have this week begun work on their Split base in Resnik, which is located near Split’s main Airport. A flight from Split (Resnik) to Jelsa on the island of Hvar is expected to cost around 39 euros, taking just 13 minutes, and shaving hours off current connection times.
“The planes are in Switzerland, and soon they will arrive at our base in Resnik. We will be conducting trial flights in the meantime and gathering all the necessary permits and certificates. If everything is ok, then in the middle of August passengers will be able to fly to Jelsa, Rab and Pula. We have ordered one more aircraft, we already have 28 staff, and until the middle of August we will employ another 15 people,” said Martin.
In what will be a great addition to the tourism offering in Croatia, ECA, in the second phase of the operation, plan to connect all Croatian islands with the mainland, including Zadar, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Italian cities such as Brindisi, Bari, Foggia, Ancona, Rimini, Ravenna, Bologna, Padova, Trst and Venice.