The 1st International Conference on the development and operation of water airports and synergies with cruise and airports which took place in Loutraki on 15 up and 16 of March 2019, was accomplished with great success. Speakers from Greece and various Countries participated whilst more than 200 delegates attended.
The Organizing Committee, taking into consideration the great interest and the fact that the conference in question is going to be institutionalized and set up on an annual basis, presents the relevant conclusions that will be distributed to all the recipients. This is aiming at rendering the conference the reference point for the development of water airports and the operation of seaplanes in Greece, but also at contributing to acceleration of all the time-consuming procedures by pointing out the obstacles that delayed the respecting efforts of the recent years.
Based on the sections of the conference, the conclusions are as follows:
1. After many delays the recently established legal framework (Law 4568/18) is a very positive step. However despite the efforts of all directly or indirectly interested stakeholders, the required improvement with the adoption of the necessary Common Ministerial Decision which will render it more effective, is still pending.
2. All Agencies involved, for the waterway licensing process, have to cooperate closely, in order to reduce bureaucracy and render it as speedy as possible. This will facilitate the process towards the establishment of a national map of water airports network, that will attract the interest of seaplanes’ investors which will make feasible the commencement of regional and national flights, the soonest possible.
3. A great interest has been expressed from the sealplane’s users perspective as recorded through surveys and studies performed in touristic areas of Greece. The said surveys identified also, the destination demands for more effective operation of water airports and seaplanes.
4. Water airports as an activity can be integrated into the services of a major port or operate in a special area outside the port. Seaplanes can and should be considered as means of transport within an integrated framework of respective activities, in combination with other transportation means. Due to their capability to land on water fields, they can effectively expand the transport network of an area lacking the necessary infrastructure (i.e. airport). Seaplanes do not compete with any other means of transport, but in cooperation with them can complement the whole network in order to meet the needs of the users.
5. Taking into consideration the practices and experience being gained from various examples globally, the synergy of the international cruise with the operation of seaplanes is certain as well as the success of the whole venture in our country being surrounded by many islands. As part of that synergy it will be possible for flights exclusively or in combination with cruise, to carry passengers to other destinations quickly and safely with use of seaplane, which will improve the experience of the cruise passenger, but will also help to enhance the attractiveness of the cruise destination.
6. Cruise companies can include special tours with seaplanes in their excursion schedules. Tour operators are also very positive to integrate for their customers the option of seaplanes flights, for further discovering neighboring places around destinations.
7. The seaplane is a transportation means with minimal environmental impact and is used internationally to approach highly sensitive ecosystems without creating problems. However the noise it produces is quite low or compared to other noise sources.
8. Seaplanes, apart from touring and touristic activities, they can be used for quick firefighting as well as for search and rescue operations. Also the interior of seaplanes can be easily transformed in order to carry patients, commodities, emergency items, and so on and contribute to connection of isolated areas.
9. The modern security technologies in the area of Aviation Security (AVSEC) and (ISPS) for port security, can be applied to both small (domestic) and high capacity (Offshore) water airports so as to make fully operational and effective the passenger and luggage control procedures. Devices for Trace Detector and Sniffers as well as a state-of-the-art Anti-drone system were also presented and demonstrated.
10. The development of water airports and seaplanes, among other things, create proven benefits for local communities through employment chances and prosperity by stimulating the local economy.
11. Investment tools and financing methods can be used in the near future, for water airports creation and seaplanes fleet acquisition.
12. The creation of pilot training organization which will include training simulator, combination that does not exist in any other place across Europe, is also a proposal of particular importance that submitted during the conference. For possibility of making that proposal reality, important meeting with the responsible representative of the construction company who was attending the conference, took place.
13. The Creation of a Seaplane maintenance zone was also discussed in the conference.
14. Also the Creation of a School for Waterports Executives in collaboration with the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA).
15. Loutraki, and the wider area of Corinthia and the Peloponnese region, are considered by experts to be the ideal place for hosting water airports activities, sealplane flights and approaches to small and medium-sized cruise ships. The authorities have already expressed their assent for implementation of the strategic development plan as soon as possible, which will lead to the upgrading of the area and the quality of life of residents and visitors.
FOR THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
THE CONFERENCE COORDINATOR
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com