Cities on Crete Join Seaplane Network Project
A handful of cities on the Greek island of Crete have expressed interest in creating the necessary infrastructure to launch seaplane activities in the coming future, Hellenic Seaplanes announced this week.
More specifically, Nikolas Charalambous, president and CEO of Hellenic Seaplanes, the company aiming to be the first in Greece to offer hydroplane connections to the Cyclades, Dodecanese islands and now Crete, met with government and port officials and island stakeholders to discuss plans to get a seaplane network up and running.
Among others, ideas were tabled for the towns of Hersonissos, Heraklio, Gazi, Chania and Platanias, which according to Hellenic Seaplanes have already taken actions to for relevant permits which will pave the way for other areas on Crete to follow.
Meanwhile, the areas of Rethymno, Kissamos, Ierapetra and Sitia have already taken steps in this direction.
Charalambous said there was keen interest in developing a seaplane network on the island which would connect Crete with destinations in the Southern Peloponnese, South Aegean, Cyclades and Southern Dodecanese islands.
So far the Rethymno Port Authority has been granted the license to establish the Rethymno waterway, Sitia is moving ahead with a private initiative, while the municipalities of Chania and Ierapetra have launched licensing procedures for the establishment of Kissamos and Ierapetra waterways, the company said.
“The [waterway] initiative is expected to reinforce Crete’s strategic plan to support and further develop tourism on the island. The creation of a waterway at Hersonissos port, which is already being expanded, kickstarts an important development prospect boosting tourism, which is for our municipality a key pillar of growth,” said Hersonissos Mayor Ioannis Segos after a meeting with Charalambous.
“The countdown to the creation of waterways on Crete has begun. The meetings held with both the municipal and port authorities indicate will and enthusiasm so that we all move together in a coordinated and decisive manner to complete the steps required for the construction of the waterways,” said Charalambous, adding that seaplane infrastructure will contribute significantly to tourism and to the local and national economies.
In this direction, he underlined the importance of synergies between public and private sectors.
Earlier this year, the Greek Transport Ministry revised a relevant legal framework which simplified and accelerated licensing procedures required to set up waterway operations. The law regulates a number of issues, including fuel supply, staff training, and environmental permits creating investor-friendly conditions and removing bureaucratic hurdles which caused delays.