Five companies are interested in the four-year Tallinn-Kuressaare flight procurement contract, which is worth €16.2 million.
The companies which submitted tenders by the deadline were: State-owned Regional Jet, Lithuanian company Transaviabaltika, which had operated the route up to now, NyxAir, Diamond Sky and Latvian firm RAF-AVIA.
The deadline for the procurement has been repeatedly postponed due to legal battles. Most recently, Transaviabaltika contested the procurement at the end of last year.
In January, the Public Procurement Disputes Committee (VAKO) found the Road Administration (Maanteeamet( had convincingly argued that the inclusion of an age requirement for aircraft in the procurement - set at 20 years - was not arbitrary.
Transaviabaltika wanted to use 40-46 seater planes made before 2000, on the route.
In its complaint to VAKO, Transaviabaltika claimed that the age requirement for the aircraft would be used to ensure the public procurement of the state-owned Regional Jet, a subsidiary of Nordica, which is the only company with newer aircraft than the companies interested in the procurement.
The commission did not agree with this argument.
The Road Administration justified the addition of the maximum age on the grounds that the Saaremaa rural municipality government wanted to increase the quality of air services. The Civil Aviation Administration also considered this to be justified.
The Road Administration said newer aircraft are more economical and environmentally friendly. In addition, it is not possible to install continuously-updating navigation devices on older aircraft, they said.
Editor: Helen Wright