Transfers to Croatian Islands: Direct Flights to Hvar Closer?
An ambitious German-Croatian initiative to revolutionise travel to Croatia's islands with the introduction of sea planes is on course to start in 2011.
In an interview in Slobodna Dalmacija on June 4 2011, Managing Director of European Coastal Airlines, Klaus Dieter Martin expressed the hope that his plan to introduce a network of routes connecting mainland Croatia with several of its larger islands would be realised by the end of the year.
Sea Planes for the Croatian Coast
If successful, the new service, an ambitious plan including sea planes and seaports will connect several locations on the mainland with short, direct flights to the more popular islands, slashing travel times for tourists who are currently at the mercy of the ferry timetable.
According to the EIC website, the company plans to build four seaports in the harbours fo Pula, Mali Losinj, Rijeka and Dubrovnik and fly passengers to islands such as Hvar, Korcula, Vis and Lastovo. A provisional timetable for 2011 even has an international flight from Hvar to Perara in Italy.
Founded in 2000, EIC is locked in discussions with Croatian authorities and, according to Martin, these discussions have now been raised to the level of national importance, rather than local negotiations, with discussions taking place with no less than five governmental departments.
Inaugural Flights to Korcula and Hvar
"In the first phase we are now ready to put into operation at least 6 amphibian aircraft linking major cities on the Adriatic coast with at least 9 island destinations," said Martin in the interview. "The first promotional flights will be from a logistics base in Split...to Korcula and Stari Grad on Hvar."
12 Minutes Flights at Affordable Prices
With a flying time of just 12 minutes and a one-way ticket costing 25 euro from Split to Stari Grad, the new routes are bound to be popular with tourists looking for quick and easy access to Croatia's premier island.
How to Get to Hvar Island
It is possible to charter a plane to fly to Hvar's small airport, and there are additionally several options to arrive by speedboat and water taxi, but for most visitors on a budget, the main alternative is the state ferry company, Jadrolinija, which operates routes to Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Sucuraj.
Waiting times can be long in the summer for tourists arriving on the car ferries, while the combination of bus travel from Split airport to the port and then ferry to the island is one reason why the new service should be extremely successful.
According to Martin, the company already operated international in Canada and in the Maldives, where they have 35 planes in operation. The company intends to invest at least 31 million euro and is now waiting for the relevant licences and permissions from Zagreb.