Former foreign minister and current MEP Urmas Paet said Estonian Air does not need to fold immediately if the European Commission decides on Saturday that state aid to the company was illegal, forcing it to pay back millions of euros - money which it does not have.
“Why should Estonian Air immediately stop operating after a decision from the European Commission. Courts should be the next step. Avias has been flying for months, despite bankruptcy procedures,” Paet said on social media.
Paet asked which companies did Estonia hurt by bailing Estonian Air out. “Where are the airlines which did not, as a result, fly to Estonia?" he asked, claiming that: "There are none.”
Paet was commenting on the fact that the EU regulations limit state bailouts to companies on fair competition grounds.
He said air connections between Tallinn and other European cities is not a business venture, otherwise a large number of other airlines would be interested in operating in the Estonian market.
Rasmus Ruuda, head of public relations at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said it is too early to comment on any possible appeal as the European Commission is yet to decide whether the state aid was against EU regulations at all.
A decision by the European Commission is expected on Saturday, with experts saying that if it is negative, the company will immediately be declared bankrupt and all flights will be grounded.
Editor: J.M. Laats