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article imageZagreb first European capital to connect to islands by seaplanes Special

By Paul Bradbury     Oct 8, 2014 in World
Zagreb - It's another milestone for Europe's first modern scheduled seaplane service, as European Coastal Airlines connects to the world in Croatia.
A new chapter of modern European aviation history was written in Croatia on October 8, 2014, as a European Coastal Airlines seaplane touched down at Zagreb Airport from the island of Rab, the first commercial seaplane flight to the Croatian capital, a flight experienced by Digital Journal.
After 13 years of bureaucracy and the first scheduled flight from Split Airport to Jelsa on Hvar from Split Airport on August 27, the ECA network is set for expansion. It offers important links from the islands to the mainland, as well as a revolution in island-hopping for tourists.
Today's flight started in Jelsa, stopping in Resnik (Split Airport), then on to the island of Rab and Zagreb, before returning on the same route. The arrival in Zagreb was duly noted on the official airport arrivals board, which gave the clearest sign yet of the possibilities the seaplane service is bringing to Croatian tourism.
With the connection to Zagreb, the ECA network literally becomes connected with the world, and there were a plethora of international onward connections to choose from. As Digital Journal reported last week, Qatar Airways has started direct flights from Doha to Zagreb, meaning that the previously almost inaccessible island of Rab can now be reached from the Middle East with one change in just eight hours.
Digital Journal interviewed CEO Captain Klaus DIeter Martin on the flight to Rab about progress so far and plans for the coming months, an interview which will be published later this week.
Today's historic flight with commentary in pictures;
Seaplane departures are a popular event for young families in Jelsa. Pilots of the future  perhaps? ...
Seaplane departures are a popular event for young families in Jelsa. Pilots of the future, perhaps? The initial route of Split Airport to Jelsa has been a popular success.
The island of Zecevo  just off Hvar  the first of many stunning islands on the flight from Jelsa to ...
The island of Zecevo, just off Hvar, the first of many stunning islands on the flight from Jelsa to Zagreb.
Croatia s stunning premier island of Hvar.
Croatia's stunning premier island of Hvar.
The two Danish pilots had duties beyond just flying the plane. Assisting the dock handler on the app...
The two Danish pilots had duties beyond just flying the plane. Assisting the dock handler on the approach to Split Airport.
A European Coastal Airlines dock handler in Split releases the Twin Otter for its first commercial f...
A European Coastal Airlines dock handler in Split releases the Twin Otter for its first commercial flight to Rab.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old town of Trogir was one of the early sights from Split.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old town of Trogir was one of the early sights from Split.
A reminder of the importance of sailing tourism in Croatia. Perfect conditions in October.
A reminder of the importance of sailing tourism in Croatia. Perfect conditions in October.
The historic town of Sibenik  with its own World Heritage Site  was another highlight.
The historic town of Sibenik, with its own World Heritage Site, was another highlight.
The flight to Rab afforded great views of some of Croatia s top marinas.
The flight to Rab afforded great views of some of Croatia's top marinas.
Croatia has 1 185 islands  and it seems that most of them can be viewed on the picturesque 45-minute...
Croatia has 1,185 islands, and it seems that most of them can be viewed on the picturesque 45-minute flight to Split.
The historic city of Zadar  which will soon be added to the ECA network. As Ryanair s only base in C...
The historic city of Zadar, which will soon be added to the ECA network. As Ryanair's only base in Croatia, the combination offers interesting possibilities for tourists.
ECA aims to connect all of Croatia s inhabited islands.
ECA aims to connect all of Croatia's inhabited islands.
The island of Rab comes into view.
The island of Rab comes into view.
Arrival at the island of Rab.
Arrival at the island of Rab.
ECA CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin arrives in Rab.
ECA CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin arrives in Rab.
European Coastal Airlines CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin and PR Director Marija Vuletic flanking tw...
European Coastal Airlines CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin and PR Director Marija Vuletic flanking two customers on the first flight to Rab, who were also on the first ever ECA flight, from Split Airport to Jelsa on Hvar.
The staff at the new ECA destination handled check-in very efficiently.
The staff at the new ECA destination handled check-in very efficiently.
Each ECA sea port will be equipped with a hospitality centre. The Rab Fly In.
Each ECA sea port will be equipped with a hospitality centre. The Rab Fly In.
The European Coastal Airlines sea port on Rab  which is not just 37 minutes away from Zagreb  and 45...
The European Coastal Airlines sea port on Rab, which is not just 37 minutes away from Zagreb, and 45 from Split.
The island of Rab  which is also credited as the home of naturism in Croatia after an abdicating Bri...
The island of Rab, which is also credited as the home of naturism in Croatia after an abdicating British king and Mrs Simpson went skinny-dipping here in 1936.
The European Coastal Airlines departure lounge on Rab.
The European Coastal Airlines departure lounge on Rab.
With such abundant stunning scenery on view  the ECA network is certain to benefit from panorama fli...
With such abundant stunning scenery on view, the ECA network is certain to benefit from panorama flight tourism in 2015.
Boarding passes for the first commercial flight from Jelsa to Zagreb. The ECA seaplane experience is...
Boarding passes for the first commercial flight from Jelsa to Zagreb. The ECA seaplane experience is akin to a regular airline, but with a much more relaxed feel.
The scenery from Rab to Zagreb was no less breathtaking.
The scenery from Rab to Zagreb was no less breathtaking.
Seaplanes and the Adriatic: panorama flying heaven.
Seaplanes and the Adriatic: panorama flying heaven.
The views of inland Croatia were also stunning.
The views of inland Croatia were also stunning.
A busy day at IKEA  one of the sights on the flight from Rab to Zagreb.
A busy day at IKEA, one of the sights on the flight from Rab to Zagreb.
There was plenty of national press interest on the flight from Rab to Zagreb.
There was plenty of national press interest on the flight from Rab to Zagreb.
Touchdown at Zagreb Airport  some 37 minutes after leaving Rab. A world of international connections...
Touchdown at Zagreb Airport, some 37 minutes after leaving Rab. A world of international connections await. Finally Croatian islands are connected to the world, daily, 12 months a year.
National news channel HRT filmed a news piece aboard the plane on the inaugural flight to Zagreb.
National news channel HRT filmed a news piece aboard the plane on the inaugural flight to Zagreb.
A historic day as ECA lands at Zagreb Airport from Rab. The Twin Otter can land on sea or land.
A historic day as ECA lands at Zagreb Airport from Rab. The Twin Otter can land on sea or land.
Luggage handling at Zagreb Airport  seaplane style.
Luggage handling at Zagreb Airport, seaplane style.
Upon arrival in Zagreb  normal airport procedures applied  including an awaiting bus transfer to the...
Upon arrival in Zagreb, normal airport procedures applied, including an awaiting bus transfer to the terminal.
The arrivals board at Zagreb Airport. The island of Rab now connects to numerous international desti...
The arrivals board at Zagreb Airport. The island of Rab now connects to numerous international destinations on a daily basis, something unthinkable last year.
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