The Gran Canarian palms
The port of Santa Cruz de La Palma has today received the first seaplane for passengers since 1957, a historic flight from Santa Cruz de Tenerife as a pilot test for a service that the company Surcar Airlines wants to have operational this fall.
This aircraft plans to begin in a few months to link the capitals of the islands, with routes from Santa Cruz de Tenerife-La Palma and Santa Cruz de Tenerife-Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The goal is to focus on the consumer niche of the business traveler and some tourist passengers during the weekends, with some 15,000 potential passengers a year.
Surcar Airlines is a company with majority Canarian capital and authorized by the Canarian Special Zone (ZEC), created with the participation of Nordic Seaplanes, the only operator in Europe with a regular line in Denmark.
These are routes of about 30 minutes and with more agile controls, connecting city to city and therefore moving away from airport infrastructures.
The company considers a revolution in aeronautical transport in Spain with the recovery of the use of the seaplane in the Canary Islands, a region that already had a regular seaplane route with the Port of Southampton in the south of England, until the 1950s. In this way, Surcar Airlines wants the seaplane to be an instrument for improve connectivity, social cohesion and development of the islands, as he assures has been demonstrated in cities such as Copenhagen, Victoria, Vancouver or Seattle, where seaplanes have been important agents of the regional transport system for more than 30 years.
The pilot of the seaplane that made the trip this Monday was Ulrik Nielsen, who stated that it was «a fantastic experience» with calm wind despite the haze.
In this way, the company resumes this historic form of transport 65 years later and with a modern version. For Surcar Airlines, it is a “romantic, agile and safe” form of transport that will bring the Canary Islands “even closer” and represents “a milestone for the archipelago and the European transport industry.”
The launch of Surcar will be accompanied by a new regulation for this activity from the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), and a technical report commissioned from the body belonging to the Ministry of Defense (INTA) for the use of seaplanes for passenger transport safely and without affecting port traffic.