AirBaltic unveils Estonian ambitions, EA labels plan a bluff ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
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Latvia's AirBaltic recently unveiled its long-term strategy for until 2021, by when the company wants to service 11 European cities direct from both Tallinn and Vilnius.

The company will focus on becoming the Baltic region's airline, instead of just a Latvia-orientated company, Postimees reported.

But Estonian Air (EA) supervisory board member Erki Urva said that the Latvian company is bluffing, having pulled a similar stunt with Vilnius, which then fell apart. Urva told Postimees that other, larger, companies have attempted direct connections with Tallinn, but they have also failed.

Currently, the AirBaltic flies to Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Riga, direct from Tallinn, with Oslo, Stockholm, Varna, Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen being added to that list.

Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss said there is room for only one Baltic-wide airline, and Estonian and Lithuanian governments should buy into the company or cooperate in other ways.

AirBaltic, like Estonian Air, was subject to a state bail-out and is in the process, albeit slow, or privatization.

Urva ruled out any possibility of the Estonian government buying into AirBaltic.

Finnair, the second largest airline in Tallinn Airport after Estonian Air, also wants to increase its market share in Estonia, although the company has so far ruled out adding more direct routes.

Editor: J.M. Laats