In Zagreb was founded the European Coastal Airlines (ECA), Croatian and German company, which aim is to connect the land and larger Croatian islands by plane. In this moment they collect documents needed for issuing concessions and necessary permits whilst with state authorities in Zagreb is being worked upon the detailed plan of “air highways”. According to Klaus Dieter Martin, company’s director, the connection will be carried out in two phases.
In the first phase is planned to connect Split and Dubrovnik with Korčula, Hvar, Lastovo, Vis and other islands and then connect Rijeka, Zadar and Pula with Lošinj, Rab, Cres and other islands in the northern part of Adriatic. For taking off and landing of hydroplanes will be used 30 seaports, and for the flight, the amphibious aircrafts with 19 seats of DE Havilland Twin Otter DHC-6 type. Besides regular lines twice a week mainly for island's inhabitants, the company expects the large number of foreign and national tourists using this service as a part of charter packages on weekends as well.
They also expect to receive the state’s subsidies as well as ship transporters did, so that, for example, the flight from Split to Hvar would cost around hundred kunas and would last approx. ten minutes whilst the flight from Dubrovnik to Korčula would last 20 minutes and would cost around 40 Euros.
In the second phase it is planned to connect the above mentioned islands with Italian cities such as Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Ancona, Rimini, Bologna, Padua, Trieste and Venice and it is estimated that they should start operate already this tourist season.