Estonian Air Threatens Closure of Island Route
In a letter sent to the Saare County government, Estonian Air said it would terminate the service on the Tallinn-Kuressaare route before its operating contract runs out if no deal on subsidies is reached by August.
"In that case service on the Tallinn-Kuressaare-Tallinn route will be terminated on September 1, 2011" Estonian Air's Chief Commercial Officer Rauno Parras wrote. According to Saarte Hääl, the airline has proposed two options to the county government after the latest tally of the route's monetary intake.
One way to continue flying to Saaremaa's capital would be increasing the subsidy amount from 1,996 to 4,048 euros per round trip flight. Another option would be to leave the amount per flight unchanged but increase the number of weekly round trips from seven to eight beginning from September.
The company, which launched a second domestic route, Tallinn-Tartu, in February, cited the growing cost of planes and crews as the reason for the ultimatum.
Commenting on the letter, Saare County governor Toomas Kasemaa said that the county government had already increased the amount of the subsidy this year to cover the surge of reasonable costs, and now wishes to hear additional explanations from the airline.