Tallinn-Tartu Air Route May Close if Business Does Not Improve (8)
The closure of Estonian Air's Tallinn-Tartu route appears imminent as Tartu residents lack interest for flying to the capital.
Tallinn Airport board member Erik Sakkov gave Tartu an ultimatum: the route will close on Midsummer Day, if passenger numbers do not increase in the next two months, reported Postimees.
“I sincerely hope that the flights continue, but it depends entirely on the people of Tartu,” said Sakkov. “There is nothing that can be done if people don't fly. Estonian Air no longer has a single reason to keep losing money over the route.”
In order for the route's revenue to balance expenses, the national air carrier would have to sell tickets for 65 percent of seats, or 1,100 passengers per month. However, only 517 passengers flew between Tallinn and Tartu in February and 706 in March.
“We are very worried,” said Sakkov. “It would be a shame if all of the hard work and trouble goes to waste.”
Tartu is just a two-hour drive from Tallinn, but Estonian Air has marketed the route to transferring passengers. Nonetheless, most Tartu residents would rather drive to Tallinn instead of flying, Sakkov admitted.
Tartu Airport, a subsidiary of Tallinn Airport Ltd., would certainly suffer as a result of the route's closure. The regional airport would need an annual 500,000 passengers to reach profitability.