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The ACI takes to the air… Croatia’s marina association ACI plans to build a seaplane airline…

ACI marina association plans seaplane route to marinas
A seaplane airline is planned to connect the individual ACI marinas with each other, and later also the offshore islands and even flights to Italian marinas. | © xbrchx | Adobe Stock

ACI (Adriatic Croatia International Club), as reported by the Internet portal aeroTelegraf, citing ACI sources, is planning to set up its own seaplane airline that will operate between ACI marinas and offshore Croatian islands. Five Cessna Grand Caravan seaplanes will be used, according to the reports, with one to be acquired as early as this year. The planning states that flight operations should start as early as May 2022.

Planning confirmed by ACI

When asked, ACI confirmed corresponding plans. However, as the ACI press department expressly stated, a final decision has not yet been made; the economic feasibility and, of course, the demand are still being examined.

Takeover of European Coastal Airlines

In addition to 22 marinas where the seaplanes are to take off, the plan is to take over another six takeoff and landing sites of the former operation of a seaplane line, Split-based and probably under creditor protection ECA (European Coastal Airlines), it added. In addition, ACI is said to have already applied for the AOC required for air traffic, as the Air Operator Certificate, the portal reported.

Up to five seaplanes planned

These plans are substantiated by another report from the exyuaviation blog. In it, Zdravko Delić, head of ACI’s special projects, is quoted as saying, “We are launching our airline with a focus on water flights, similar to what ECA set up a few years ago. Unfortunately, that company went bankrupt. However, ACI sees an opportunity in the market. We plan to operate Cessna Grand Caravan amphibious aircraft. We will acquire one turboprop, while two others will be leased. Depending on demand, the airline will have up to five aircraft in its fleet.”

ACI to connect marinas via seaplane airline

The plan, as detailed in more detail in this article, is for development in three stages: First, the marinas should be connected to each other, then in the second step a connection from the mainland to the Croatian islands should be established, mainly in the winter season, and in the third step there are plans to establish an airline between the Croatian coastal regions and Italy.

Seaplanes in Croatia: eventful history

Seaplanes on the Croatian coast already have almost a long tradition: initially, the company Europaen Coastal Airlines started quite hopefully in 2014, but soon had to stop operations due to outdated seaplanes and alleged safety concerns. The company had been under creditor protection since 2017. At that time, it was still flying de Havilland Twin Otter 6-300, among others. In the meantime, backers from Dubai also wanted to finance the resumption of flight operations, as was rumored, but ultimately those plans fell through.

ACI builds on synergies

If the reports prove true, it would be another opportunity to further boost Croatian tourism, especially nautical tourism. Since the ACI Marina Group is a company that is largely state-owned, the bureaucratic obstacles in corresponding licensing procedures should be kept within manageable limits, and at the same time synergies could be exploited with regard to possible take-off and landing sites, which are already virtually available in the marinas.

But so far only at an advanced planning stage

And with a company like ACI behind it, the airline should be guaranteed a good start if the planning phase as well as the needs assessment should conclude with a positive result. In particular, the rapid accessibility of the offshore islands in the winter months would then also ensure the medical care of the locals living there in the long term.

We will report further on the progress of the project here as soon as we have more information from ACI.


More articles on ACI Marinas.

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