Seaplanes to Return to Croatia, ACI Air Launch in May 2022?

By 9 November 2021
Seaplanes to Return to Croatia, ACI Air Launch in May 2022?
ACI Marina

November 9, 2021 - It is more than 5 years since European Coastal Airlines stopped its seaplane service in Croatia. Will ACI Air succeed where others have failed?

It was really great when it lasted, with the potential (ah, the P word again) to transform not only tourism, but also business and life in Croatia. The story of European Coastal Airlines has been well-documented, but I will never forget one incredible day when I left my apartment in Jelsa at 08:45, took off from Jelsa harbour to 09:00, had time for a meeting and a quick beer at Resnik (by Split Airport) at 09:15, then departed for Pula at 10:00, before arriving at 11:00 with quite simply the most spectacular views ever from a plane. My driver was waiting in Pula to take me to Novigrad for lunch and the business I was there to conduct. I left Novigrad at 16:30, leaving plenty of time to catch the 18:00 return flight to Resnik. A 15-minute wait and then the final journey to Jelsa and I was in the pub on the main square by 19:30.

All in under 12 hours.

ECA is no more, and there have been several attempts at restarting a seaplane service in Croatia. I have learned over the years to be a little wary of new airline announcements, but I do have a soft spot for the seaplane story. And as ExYuAviation reports, the concept of ACI Air - to utilise its marinas - could be an interesting new angle. 

Rather than get too excited (you can read the full story in the link in the previous paragraph),here is what ACI’s head of Special Projects, Zdravko Delic, said at the recent Aviation Arena Webinar:

“We are launching our airline with a focus on hydro flights, similar to what ECA established a few years ago. Unfortunately, that company went into bankruptcy. However, ACI sees an opportunity in the market. We plan to operate Cessna Grand Caravan amphibian aircraft. We will acquire one turboprop, while another two will be leased. Depending on demand, the airline will have up to five aircraft in its fleet.”

“We opted for the Cessna Caravan because it can land at all of ACI’s marinas, which we have 22 of. Furthermore, we have acquired six seaports that were previously established by ECA. Therefore, we will have some thirty departure points on the Adriatic. Our plan is to acquire our first aircraft by the end of the year, and we are in the process of obtaining an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). We expect to have it within the next few months. Our plan is to launch operations by May 1, 2022 at the latest.”

More on the story and the reaction of aviation enthusiasts in the region on ExYuAviation.