Airport commercial director: Airlines want to return, demand could be issue

Passengers at Tallinn Airport.
Passengers at Tallinn Airport. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

Passengers can currently fly to a total of 12 different destinations from Tallinn, and according to Tallinn Airport, airlines are interested in returning to the Estonian capital. One problem, however, may be a lack of demand, as countries' differing rules regarding admitting foreigners are keeping potential travelers wary for now.

In addition to Kuressaare and Kärdla, the capitals of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, flights from Tallinn Airport currently serve ten international destinations.

"Flights as such have begun to be restored and will continue to recover throughout all of June, but a big increase in flights is expected at the beginning of July — when discount airline flights are restored," Tallinn Airport Commercial Director Eero Pärgmäe told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

Nonetheless, the number of people flying remains low. Pärgmäe confirmed that airlines are very much interested in returning to Tallinn, but it is a matter of how demand will recover. Demand, however, is currently being inhibited by different countries' varying pace in reopening national borders.

"It is very difficult for people to understand what countries they can enter under what conditions," he explained. "At the moment, planes' load factors are in the range of 20-40 percent, and until traveling is made easier for people again, it is very difficult to convince them to board a plane."

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) admitted that it is indeed currently more convenient to travel to than travel from Estonia, as when traveling abroad, people have to closely monitor what rules are currently in place in their destination country.

"I very much hope that things become more uniform in mid-June," Aas said. "This should be around the time when most countries lift restrictions on incoming travel."

At the end of April, the Estonian government decided to give Estonian carrier Nordica a €30 boost by increasing its share capital, but this money has yet to be paid out. According to the minister, it first needs to be determined whether permission for state aid must be obtained from the European Commission for doing so.

"We have to be sure that we follow all rules in allocating this money to Nordica so that we don't end up in the same situation later as we did with Estonian Air," Aas said. He believed that this situation would be resolved before the month is out.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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