Sunday May 24, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Hellenic Seaplanes bets on airborne island hopping as new trend

Hellenic Seaplanes S.A., a new airline set to start flying tourists between Greek islands this summer, forecasts that sea-based commercial carriers could generate 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in annual revenue as European travelers return to a country emerging from recession.

With nearly 6,000 islands and fewer than 50 airports, Greece is a “natural” for seaplanes and could become “the center of a seaplane industry” in Europe, Nicolas Charalambous, president and chief executive officer of Hellenic Seaplanes, said in an interview in Athens. “The Maldives and Virgin Islands have shown how seaplanes can contribute to the growth of tourism and we have more islands, a longer coastline and are close to large European tourist markets.”

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called tourism, Greece’s largest industry, “the first locomotive that started and began to pull our economy out of a painful six-year recession” that’s seen unemployment hit 28 percent. Industry groups say reaching a target of 24 million tourists by 2021 would add 9 percentage points to gross domestic product and create 300,000 jobs. Tourism accounts for over 16 percent of Greece’s GDP, one of the highest levels in Europe.

Hellenic Seaplanes is betting that continued growth in tourist visits, which the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises estimates will total as many as 18.5 million this year, will fuel revenue for seaplane operators, Charalambous said. The company wants to build as many water aerodromes as possible before the peak summer season and expects to have 112 by the end of 2015.

Investment from tourism companies like Hellenic Seaplanes could help create new niche markets, spark growth and development on islands and in ports and create jobs, while boosting the real-estate market, Charalambous said.

The Greek government has agreed to speed up licensing to allow flights to start before the summer, Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis said Feb. 18, citing the industry’s potential role in boosting tourism.

Charalambous’s company wants to “act as a feeder” to carriers such as International Consolidated Airlines Group SA’s British Airways and Aegean Airlines SA, he said. Code-sharing could allow passengers to “buy a ticket from anywhere in the world to a Greek airport, and then onward to water aerodromes on islands we serve.”

Hellenic Seaplanes has secured 16.5 million euros from U.S. and European private equity funds to finance plans to buy or lease 20 new planes, Charalambous said. The company wants to work with a fund that “knows the seaplane business,” he said. Blackstone Group LP last year bought a controlling stake in Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways, who together operate the world’s largest seaplane fleet.

Hellenic Seaplanes has approval to operate between the popular Ionian Sea island of Zakinthos, the western port of Patras, the northwestern island of Corfu and the central port of Volos, serving neighboring islands including Skopelos, the setting for the film “Mamma Mia.”

Hellenic Seaplanes also plans to offer sightseeing flights, resort transfers and cargo services, Charalambous said. Seaplanes can also be used as ambulances to bring patients from remote islands to larger facilities.

The company is in contact with cruise and tour operators for possible deals on sightseeing flights, Charalambous said. In cargo, it’s working on a partnership with DHL Worldwide Express and is talking to Interamerican, Greece’s biggest health insurer, about medical evacuation operations.

Hellenic Seaplanes will reply to a state asset-sales fund invitation to investors to express interest in building a water- airport hub in the Athens suburb of Paleo Faliro, he said.

The carrier will target Cyprus after Greece, focusing on operations “in parallel with the planned development of casinos,” Charalambous said. “We could connect Cyprus with neighboring Lebanon and even Egypt to carry potential casino clients.”

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Friday March 7, 2014 (10:14)  
Greece does not have the money to make June IMF repayment, warns interior minister
Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
Car sales drop a gear on VAT rate uncertainty
Greeks back government´s red lines, but want to keep euro
Cash-strapped Greeks remain supportive of the leftist government's tough negotiating style, according to a new poll published Sunday, but hope for a deal with creditors that will keep the eu...
SYRIZA seeks new relationship with police
After a rather rocky start in its relationship with the country’s police force, the leftist-led coalition appears to be seeking closer cooperation but without being too obvious about it. A f...
Inside News
SOCCER
Reds add Cup to league trophy with 3-1 win over Xanthi
Olympiakos completed a league-and-cup double on Saturday by beating Xanthi 3-1 in the Greek Cup final at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, that was more balanced than the final score suggests. ...
BASKETBALL
Olympiakos strolls past Korivos Amaliadas
Olympiakos completed the Basket League’s semifinal line-up on Saturday after sweeping Korivos Amaliadas with a 2-0 score in the best-of-three quarterfinals. After winning 91-52 in Game 1 at ...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
The good news and the bad
The good news is that a Greek default will most likely be prevented, a deal will be reached with the country’s creditors and an extension will be granted for negotiations over the next bailo...
EDITORIAL
Geopolitical threats
Greece needs to extricate itself from this crisis fast and get back on its feet, not least because the geopolitical climate is becoming increasingly stormy. The Balkan region is re-entering ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greeks back government´s red lines, but want to keep euro
2. Greece does not have the money to make June IMF repayment, warns interior minister
3. SYRIZA seeks new relationship with police
4. Solving islands´ water problems would take 66.4 mln euros, study finds
5. Reds add Cup to league trophy with 3-1 win over Xanthi
6. Olympiakos strolls past Korivos Amaliadas
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greeks back government's red lines, but want to keep euro
2. Greece does not have the money to make June IMF repayment, warns interior minister
3. The good news and the bad
4. SYRIZA seeks new relationship with police
5. Solving islands' water problems would take 66.4 mln euros, study finds
6. Geopolitical threats
Today
This Week
1. The Greek-German breakthrough that didn’t come
2. Conspiracy madness
3. Greece came close to not paying IMF
4. National self-awareness put to the test
5. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
6. Greek endgame nears for Tsipras as bank collateral hits buffers
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.