Although the deadline for the tender to operate subsidized air services between Tallinn and Saaremaa ended almost two months ago, the winner has yet to be announced, regional newspaper Saarte Hääl reported.
For the past month, the Road Administration, which is responsible for the tender, has only said in response to inquiries that the final stage in the proceeding is underway. When the winner could be announced, the Road Administration was unable to say this week, as they did in June.
"When the decision has been made, we will inform the public about it," Kirke Williamson, head of the department for public transport at the Road Administration, told Saarte Hääl.
When asked why the decision has not been made to date and what has prevented it from being made, Williamson declined to respond.
It is known that five carriers have submitted their offers in the tender: the current carrier Transaviabaltika, the Nordica subsidiary Regional Jet Ltd, Diamond Sky Ltd, NyxAir Ltd and AS Raf-Avia.
The estimated value of the four-year contract is €16.2 million. The deadline for the tender has been postponed seven times due to court disputes.
According to initial plans, the new plane was supposed to start flying between Tallinn and Kuressaare from June 1, 2019. Due to litigation, the Road Administration extended the contract with the current carrier for up to two years until a new carrier is found.
When the air passenger service tender embarked on its third round in September, it came out that the terms of the tender made no mention of the age of the aircraft with which the service will be operated.
The Saare County municipality government then asked Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) to change the terms of the tender to stipulate that the age of the aircraft must not exceed 20 years.
Transaviabaltika contested the new requirement added to the terms of the tender in the public procurement dispute settlement committee, which dismissed the challenge. The committee's decision was upheld by two court tiers, with the Supreme Court eventually dismissing Transaviabaltika's appeal in May 2020.
Editor: Roberta Vaino