Having taken delivery of its first Cessna (single turboprop) C208 amphibian from Textron Aviation in August, Greek start-up Hellenic Seaplanes (Athens) has pushed back its planned flight operations launch from the third quarter of 2023 to “starting from the tourist season of 2024.”

By then it hopes to receive a second and third seaplane of the same type as it works towards an ambition to ultimately operate the biggest seaplane network in Europe in addition to being the first company in Greece to offer hydroplane connections to and from the islands and mainland.

The fleet will also aim to cater to the needs of cruise travellers and cover offshore excursion needs, Hellenic Seaplanes’ president and CEO, Nikolas Charalambous, said in the company’s latest statement, issued on November 8. Operating trips for cruise passengers was behind its informing the Corfu Port Authority of its intention “to operate in the Ionian Sea based on the Corfu waterway,” he said.

“The operational planning for waterways in Greece, if everything goes smoothly, includes the activation of the network of waterways in Peloponnese and Sporades, utilising the licensed infrastructure in Kalamata, Kyllini, Patras, Skyros, Skopelos, Volos, and Alonissos,” he added.

“There is a race to ensure that the operational conditions that will allow the first launches are ready. At the centre of this is the effort being made to secure the necessary permits as well as the operational readiness of the first waterways that will open their gates,” he said. That includes an “intense drive to work with the Civil Aviation Authority to register the first aircraft for subsequent seaplanes to follow.” The company is then “hoping to receive all the necessary approvals in time to be operational in the first months of 2024.”