HYDROPLANES: A new trend or a new dimension?

In the past few months, there has been a lot of activity on the ‘seaplane’ front in Europe. Mainly, this activity has been floating around Greece along with the development of a new network of seaports. The concept has been in circulation for some time however, now it seems closer to fruition than ever before.

Following a key meeting early January – according to newspaper Naftemporiki – Greece’s new Under-Secretary for Shipping and Island Policy, Konstantinos Katsafados, described 2021 as “the year of the seaplanes”. At this moment, it seems that the development of the seaplane sector in Greece is moving speedily forward. It is fascinating though that the project has intensified in the middle of a very difficult period.

150 new seaports expected within 5 years

The program includes the establishment of a number of seaports throughout Greece. From Kerkyra to Kastelorizo and from Kavala to South Crete there will be a wide network of licensed waterdromes to serve the transport needs of the country. In the past couple of days, I read the latest news reports, stating that the first two seaplane terminals will be built at Heraklion (Crete) and the city of Volos (Central Greece). On a similar note, looking at the example of Patras Port Authority SA, other cities already began the process to establish waterdromes at their locations. According to various sources, there is a target of 150 Greek seaports to be in operation within the next 5 years. In terms of employment, thousands of direct and indirect jobs expected to open from this major project.

Seaplanes offer a wide range of opportunities

Despite all the recent formal and informal talk about this project, seaplane services has been an enterprising topic for a long time now in many countries. Amphibious aircraft offer a wide range of opportunities to various sections like tourism, deliveries and emergency services. I recall from when I served in the Middle East, several companies offering interesting leisure options. Entertainment tours for visitors as well as travel deals to entrepreneurs. There must be similar commercial potential for the Mediterranean region too.  

How should we approach this Greek venture then? Is it a new niche in the market? Is it an alternative mode of transport? Or, perhaps for the European scene, a new convenient transfer arrangement for tourism? Taking into account that nearly every industry grieved in some way since last year, any prospect of recovery must be good news.

What is your opinion? Let colleagues and industry partners hear your views on this matter. Airport Bureau wants you to share your comments and observations.  


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