http://www.digitaljournal.com/sports/hydroplanes-for-hajduk-flying-sponsor-for-croatia-s-oldest-club/article/396668

Hydroplanes for Hajduk: Flying sponsor for Croatia's oldest club

Posted Aug 13, 2014 by Paul Bradbury
A much-needed cash injection for Croatia's oldest football club is announced as Europe's first scheduled modern hydroplane service prepares to take to the skies.
ECA CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin announces a 400 000 euro two-year deal with Hajduk Split.
ECA CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin announces a 400,000 euro two-year deal with Hajduk Split.
Hajduk Split
With another campaign for Croatia's oldest football club Hajduk Split about to begin, there was a much-needed financial boost for Hajduk Split on August 12, 2014, as European Coastal Airlines CEO Captain Klaus Dieter Martin announced a 3 million kuna (400,000 euro) two-year sponsorship deal at a press conference at the Poljud Stadium in Split.
During the conference (which can be viewed in the YouTube link below), Martin said that this was the beginning of what he hoped would be a long association with Croatia's most famous club, whose integration into the community has elevated it beyond a mere football club in the eyes of many, with some people even listing Hajduk as their religion in the 2011 national census.
The partnership between Hajduk and European Coastal Airlines, which plans to launch the first scheduled modern hydroplane service in Europe this month after a 13-year battle with bureaucracy, is a further sign of the commitment the new airline has to Croatia and the community in which it is operating.
The first European Coastal Airlines hydroplane landed at Split Airport earlier this week.
The first European Coastal Airlines hydroplane landed at Split Airport earlier this week.
Goran Les
While many budget airlines operate in Croatia during the summer tourist months, Martin confirmed once more that the hydroplane operation will fly year-round, providing a much-needed service between the mainland and islands. He announced at the conference that he hoped that the first flight would take place next Wednesday, from the sea port base at Resnik, close to Split Airport to the pretty resort town of Jelsa on Hvar, a journey which will take just 13 minutes.
After battling Croatia's famous bureaucracy for 13 years, it appears that the final hurdles have been overcome, and the finishing touches are being applied to the initial sea ports. The initial network will include Split Airport, Jelsa on Hvar, Zadar Airport, the island of Rab, Zagreb Airport, Pula and Ancona in Italy. It is hoped that several more locations will be added in the coming months, and the planes ability to take off at sea and land at regular airports provide enticing possibilities for island hopping and tourism in general.
Construction of the sea port at Resnik  500 metres from Split Airport  is almost complete.
Construction of the sea port at Resnik, 500 metres from Split Airport, is almost complete.
European Coastal Airlines
As a further commitment to Split, Martin also announced that they would be moving their company down to the Dalmatian capital, having already set up their headquarters near Split Airport. He expressed his hope that the city of Split would soon be added to the network, and he was at pains to explain in a little more detail the airline's plans to fly into Split.
The island of Rab is considered an important hub for the hydroplanes.
The island of Rab is considered an important hub for the hydroplanes.
European Coastal Airlines
After having the prime location of Matejuska confirmed by the regional authorities and Split's mayor Ivo Baldasar earlier this year, the awarding of the concession was revoked after a public outcry, after it was falsely claimed that the company wanted to dock in a popular social spot.
The launch of the hydroplane service will revive a tradition on the Adriatic which existed 70 years ago, when hydroplanes connected Split with several islands and other coastal locations, and even the Czech capital Prague. It is hoped that downtown Split will soon be added to the network, thereby bringing travel times to Croatia's premier island of Hvar, for example, down to just 10 minutes.