European Coastal Airlines, who until Saturday were operating seaplanes connecting Croatian islands with the mainland, still have not been issued with a Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to conduct commercial air transport…
One of Croatia’s leading portal’s, Index.hr, published an article on Saturday 13 August 2016 questioning the safety and maintenance of the seaplanes. The portal, quoting former and current ECA employers, 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 sources 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’.
On Saturday 13 August 2016 European Coastal Airlines 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.
Since Saturday there has been no public update from ECA, although a spokesperson from the airline told daily Slobodna Dalmacija the company had gathered the required paperwork showing that the planes were all OK and were still waiting for confirmation CCAA. The spokesperson said that they hoped that ECA would be back in business on Friday.
Slobodna Dalmacija, quoting experts in the aviation field, suggest that ECA maybe grounded a lot longer than just a few more days. ECA, which launched on the Croatian coast in 2014, has a fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes.