Nordica: opening direct lines from Tallinn unreasonable

Tallinn Airport.
Tallinn Airport. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Erki Urva, chairman of the board of state airline Nordica, said the current route network of Tallinn Airport is unrealistic, since some of the advertised routes will not actually take off. Nordica also does not consider opening direct lines from Tallinn to be reasonable financially.

Henrik Hololei, head of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, said on Monday that it would be elementary for a state-owned airline to fly from a home airport to various destinations.

Urva said Nordica has direct flights from Tallinn to both Stockholm and Warsaw. "True, these flights do not take place under the Nordica brand, we still fly for other companies, but these are our planes, our crews and our people who serve these flights," he added.

Other airlines also operate direct flights from Tallinn, but Nordica does not think it is economically reasonable at the moment. "We are expected to have a conservative attitude. That we do not want to burn taxpayers' money. However, I have to admit that by the end of this summer we will also be ready as an airline under the Nordica brand and we have our own commercial platform launched in the summer," Urva said.

Nordica is constantly analyzing what is happening at the airport and while vacation flights have recovered strongly, business demand is lower than expected. "And this is what brings money to traditional airlines. Currently, there are only a few airlines that are able to stay on top of flying from Tallinn," Urva said.

Although Nordica subcontracts to SAS and LOT Poland, Urva said Air Baltic, for example, has enough capacity to service Tallinn routes itself and they do not need to outsource Nordica. "We are constantly in negotiations with a very large number of airlines across Europe and hopefully our group will have some new customers next year," he said.

Nordica does not rule out flying to destinations itself, and while the airline planned to operate direct routes later in the summer, Urva cannot give such promises now. "We finally got our commercial platform up and running in the summer and the codes under our name started in August, so it was a little late to think about it."

Urva said Nordica is not concerned about the state aid complaints, such as those submitted by Ryanair to the European Commission. The airline itself does not plan to file a complaint about Air Baltic, which has received a lot of state aid. "We prefer to spend money to promote our business. As for Ryanair's complaints, they have sued all the airlines that have received aid. Our company is not directly related to this dispute, it is between Ryanair and the European Commission," he said.

Nordica does not plan to ask the state for more money, Urva said that the credit offered by Kredex is still unused and the company has no need for it.

Competitors' flight schedules are unsustainable

Urva said several airlines sell direct flights from Tallinn to various destinations, which they do not actually plan to implement, and the presented flight plans cannot be considered sustainable.

"The flight plan, if we look at it a few months in advance, is unsustainable and will not be needed. We have been monitoring the market and it is strange that many airlines have essentially presented a flight plan that copies one before the pandemic and what will happen is that the flights are in the flight schedule, passengers can buy tickets and two weeks before the flight leaves, the flights are canceled," Urva described.

"There are many such destinations that have been repeatedly started by the selected carriers and have actually been canceled and not finished. This will continue," Urva said.

He thinks this could be considered cheating passengers. "In a way, it's cheating passengers because people are making their plans, holidays are being canceled and the flights are canceled. Not to mention that airline companies have held some payments. This is all happening, unfortunately," he said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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