One hundred years after the first seaplane flight license was issued in Greece and after years of delays, the “ambitious” project to build 100 waterways in harbors and lakes takes the road of implementation, with the prospect of the first flights starting from Corfu, Paxos and Patras in May 2020.
The new bill, which deals with the construction and operation of waterways, is to be submitted to Parliament by the end of the month. The intention is to unravel the investments, which for years have stuck to the “cogs” of bureaucracy and created waterways from Attica and the Argosaronic islands to the Peloponnese, the Ionian, the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese. At the same time, the investment planes, which will manage the seaplanes, with the participation of Greek and foreign businessmen, who have experience in the aviation sector, are on the alert.
The first seaplanes
The first seaplane flights will start from Corfu, Paxos and Patras in May 2020 , as they are the first waterways already licensed, and many are still being evaluated by the Civil Aviation Authority. Thus, in the Ionian Sea, in addition to the above, there are 8 more waterways under license , in Kefalonia, Lefkada, Ithaca, Zakynthos, Meganisi, as well as in the three islands: Ereikoussa, Othonous and Mathraki.
Also in the South Aegean region (Cyclades and Dodecanese) has been started the licensing of 33 more waterways , among which are Astypalaia, Folegandros, Ios, Tilos, Nisyros, Kassos, Karpathos, Kos, Halki, Symi, two in Rhodes. Andros, Tinos Mykonos Milos and Paros.
However, Ikaria, Samos, Lemnos, Chios and the more remote islands of Psara and Agios Efstratios will also have their own waterways , as the Northern Aegean Region is determined to authorize 10 waterways.
The Peloponnese Regional Governor Panagiotis Nika is also in charge of the creation of waterways, as he is in talks to establish a network that will serve the following areas: Kalamata, Monemvasia, Mani and Kyllini , and again in the wider area of Pelion in Nafplio and Nea Kio.
But in Loutraki , there are two waterways in the licensing process (one in Loutraki port and the other in Kalamaki ), which will operate alternatively, depending on the weather, thus ensuring year-round flights.
There are also 6 waterways in Crete under license, namely: Rethymno, Heraklion, Chania, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra.
However, Attica is about to acquire the waterfront as soon as the procedures are simplified, as Attica District Governor George Patoulis is already discussing the implementation plan with Greek Waterways, the company that will build the first waterways in Corfu, Paxos and Patras . G. Patouli’s intention is to create a metropolitan waterway at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, which will operate flights to and from the islands of the Argosaronic: Aegina, Porto, Hydra, Spetses, Methana and Kythera . Currently, procedures are underway for the bidding process for the contractor to build the waterways.
Waterways in the lakes
Plans, however, to create waterways exist for 19 lakes. These are: Trichonidae, Volvi, Vegoritida, Vistonida, Koroneia, Little Prespa, Great Prespa, Orestiada (Kastoria), Pamvotida Ioannina, Yliki, Doirani, Amvrakia, Stamfali, Petrim, Stymfali, Petrim.
In the meantime, there is a strong investor interest in investment schemes from all over the world, while the list of entrepreneurs with seaplanes interested in taking over flights from new waterways is growing. To those who have already expressed their interest in the names of Andrea carter of Airwaves, the Ellinomexikanou Ricardo Nikolopoulos Seaplenes the Eagles , as well as an investment scheme (fund) with German and Swiss capital.
A. Karotsieris, a professional pilot, has been active in the airline industry for many years, having owned his own airline, K2 Smart Jets, which operated VIP flights for 8 years and suspended its operation in 2011 due to the financial crisis. He has a small stake in Greek Waterways.
The second stakeholder, R. Nikolopoulos, also has experience in air transport, as he owns an airline in America that operates both passenger and cargo flights. Its aim is to transfer its experience of mixed use of seaplanes (passengers and goods) to Greece. Note that seaplanes can carry 19 passengers, but if the seats are modified, there is the possibility of carrying 1,700kg of goods (medicines, food, essentials, etc.).
Concerning the disclosure of his intentions is the third investment scheme, created with the participation of Germans and Swiss. According to newsit reports, they intend to announce their intentions in the coming days.
The seaplanes are not an unprecedented investment for Greece, since their operation goes back almost a century before the first flight was granted in 1918 , and since 1926, sailboats were operating from Paleo Faliro (Trocadero) to Constantinople.
A few years later, in 1929 , Corfu acquired in Gouvia , its own waterway, as did Rhodes (Mandraki), Symi and Kastelorizo.
In recent history, the first flights began in 2005, shortly after the Olympics from Air Sea Lines (Canadian interests) and with a central waterfront in Faliro. The problems of the bureaucracy, however, did not leave much room for the industry to grow. Thus, the seaplane flights lasted until 2008 with itineraries connecting Corfu to Paxos (with a 50 euro one-way ticket), with later flights from Corfu to Brindisi, Italy. In the same four years, Ioannina and Patras also had their own waterways.
The Water Fraport
The Greek waterways , Tassos Govou, aspires to play a leading role in developments regarding the creation of a strong network of waterways. It is already the contractor, which will create and manage the first waterways in Patras, Corfu and Paxos, while it is the company that licensed the first 12 waterways in Greece, 2004-2008. waterfront of Patras, has collaborated with Hellenic Seaplanes (also experienced, Nicolas Charalambous) for the Patras waterfront. The two companies, however, are unlikely to boost their cooperation in the future as soon as the investment series for construction and management of waterways across the country begins.
Due to her experience and interest in participating in the new projects, Hellenic Waterways aspires to be the “Waterfront Fraport” as it has so far undertaken the licensing of thirty-seven waterways . Its shareholders include Tasos Gova, founder of K2 Smart Jets, A. Vasilakis SA, Chatziandronis Aerospace & Touristic and AKTOR Facility Management.
As T. Govas told the newsit “We are happy that the Minister of Development and Investment, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis said that the first seaplanes will fly in 2020, and the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. John Kefalloi it has a more functional and less bureaucratic law. The government’s actions are sending a clear message to attract international investors who will be active in the hydropower sector. “