Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o 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)  
Workers rush to get early retirement
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Moscovici: Creditor inspections to become less frequent and ‘lighter’
Property capital gains tax halt
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athens’s old quarter. The bill...
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis and Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos have signed a decision paving the way for the country’s first hydroplan...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
The big picture
In his second term, US President Barack Obama is taking steps to enshrine his legacy and solidify America’s standing in the 21st century. His recent decision to normalize relations between t...
EDITORIAL
Get your facts straight
The danger that political discourse in Greece will sink to the basest levels of vulgarity is already more than apparent from the allegations we have heard bandied about over recent days. The...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
2. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Police gets new communications system
5. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
6. Probe into revenues of 2 mln euros in Halkidiki municipality
more news
Today
This Week
1. Get your facts straight
2. The big picture
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
5. Changes on E9 property declarations possible until end-year
6. Police gets new communications system
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.