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Seaplanes take off on Greek islands

Seaplanes take off on Greek islands.

The Greek government is paving the way for more seaplane services between the Greek islands in a bid to boost tourism. The Civil Aviation Authority has approved 50 sites where seaplanes can land and take off as a Bill is finalised in the Greek parliament. Tourist officials say two companies have already expressed interest in operating seaplane flights.

The Greek Deputy Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis said the move could pave the way for tourism on many smaller, less visited, islands.

He said: "To develop the islands the use of seaplanes should provide a major boost to tourism in the href="Greek Islands. It will facilitate the arrival of tourists on small islands with no airport where access by boat is difficult."

Hopes are high that seaplane services can start taking off in 2012 between Greek islands such as Rhodes, Kos, Tilos, Nisyros, Kalymnos, Patmos, Alonissos, Skopelos, Serifos, Symi, Lesvos, Samos, Astypalea, Anafi, Lipsi and Leros.

A bid to run seaplane services in the Ionian islands in 2004 failed after five years following complaints by AirSea Lines of overwhelming government bureaucracy that not only forced the use of Greek pilots on all flights but put a severe limit on passenger numbers.