State Transport Firms See Decline in Passenger Count in First Half ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Estonian Air and passenger train operator Elektriraudtee, both state-owned, reported significant drops in passenger numbers in the first two quarters.

Over 250,000 people flew with Estonian Air in the first six months of the year, a dramatic decrease from the 423,000 people seen in the same period last year, the company said in a press release today.

“Compared with the two previous years, we are offering fewer seats and return flights, which explains the decline in passenger numbers,” said Ilona Eskelinen, a spokeswoman for the airline.

Eskelinen said that passenger numbers were 4 percent lower than expected, but revenue per passenger was higher, adding that according to a recently drawn up restructuring plan, the airline expects to fly 600,000 passengers this year.

Eskelinen said the company has fulfilled its half-year targets and has stabilized, after a year of turbulence which saw the CEO replaced, as well as major layoffs and cut-backs in the fleet.

New trains to save the day

Elektriraudtee, which operates rail connections in Harju County, reported that passenger numbers declined by a fifth in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2012.

Just over 1 million people were transported in six months from January, bringing in nearly 1 million euros in ticket sales.

Norbert Kaareste, head of sales and marketing at the company, said in a press release today that figures from June paint a more optimistic picture, adding that with the new trains entering service, passenger numbers are expected to grow.

The company is in the process of introducing a brand new rolling stock and will take over intercity routes from Edelaraudtee in January.