Air Sea Lines SA, incorporated in Athens late last year, announced last month that it is ready to provide seaplane scheduled, “for hire” and charter passenger services connecting multiple island and coastal harbors within Greece. Its hydroplanes will begin “flightseeing” service in May. Regular services begin after the 2004 Games.
The company said that the demand for the travel method that will be offered by ASL is insatiable. Each year well over 12 million tourists visit Greece, 90% of which head for the Greek islands, not to mention the thousands of people who commute daily to Athens from the islands and remote coastal areas.
Moreover, it added that the Greek government has already stated its own requirements for air sea rescue and medi-vac along with the large island and coastal hotel/casino resort operators who have significant requirements for this service.
Considering that current freight and courier service is only provided by ferry or commercial aircraft and there is virtually no organized aerial related sightseeing services available in the country, ASL says its travel proposal will be a major contribution to the Greek travel market.
The company said it has received full cooperation and direction from the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Marine and the Greek Civil Aviation Authority. The company said it will succeed by providing travelers in Greece time savings up to 500% and cost savings of up to 250% over current ferry, fast boat and fixed wheel air travel methods, most of which it said are expensive, time ineffective and service inefficient relative to ASL’s services.
The company said the harbor-to-harbor seaplane travel ticket pricing of ASL would save travelers as much as 30% over other air travel and prices will be equivalent to first class fast ferry service. It added that not only are time savings created through the speed of travel and the directness of the routes but also through the simplicity of the check-in and of the boarding and disembarking processes.
In addition, said the company, the extremely specific service and conduct requirements of the staff ensure the maximum quality of customer service and their complete training and orientation guarantee a higher quality of “server to customer” relationship.
The first three chosen aircraft for ASL, De Havilland Otter and Beaver, have proven to be the most cost effective, reliable and tenured aircraft since the Second World War for the proposed service.
“Our ability to create new routes that are not currently serviced through existing means as well as to service small markets profitably,” said a company announcement, “will lead to our becoming an integral and critical part of everyday life and business dealings for many island and coastal markets.”