Estonian air traffic firm reports losses in excess of €3 million for 2021

Model planes (photo is illustrative).
Model planes (photo is illustrative). Source: (Siim Lõvi /ERR)

Air traffic controller Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS, known in Estonian as Lennuliiklusteeninduse AS) posted losses of €3.45 million in 2021, the company reported Friday, though revenue rose by a fifth over the same time frame.

The EANS, which recently published its 2021 shareholder report (link in Estonian), says that pre-pandemic levels of performance are likely only in 2027, though the 2021 losses were lower than initially expected, while the closure of flight routes over Ukraine and other effects of the war there will have their impact going forward.

Sales revenues rose 20.9 percent, to €17.1 million in 2021, the EANS says. The last pre-pandemic year, 2019, saw the company's revenue stand at €28.2 million.

The rise between 2020 and 2021 was mainly the result of part-recovery from the pandemic; much of 2020 had seen flights grounded.

EANS spokesperson Hanna Niitmets told ERR that: "Due to the spread of Covid-19, the volume of flights served in Estonia in 2020 fell by 56.2 percent on year."

April 2020 was the nadir – serviced flight volumes were down 80 percent on year to 4,130 for the month, Niitmets said.

The figure for the whole year was 103,488, compared with 236,087 in 2019, and 116,075 in 2021.

Of the latter, 84,425 were overflights going from one country to another via Estonian airspace, 21,308 were international arrivals and departures and 9,972 internal domestic flights, for instance between Tallinn and Saaremaa.

CEO: Pre-pandemic levels not likely to be re-attained until 2027

EANS CEO Ivar Värk noted in the preface to the annual report that: "The continuation of the pandemic has brought us to a point where the initial forecast for traffic recovery had already been postponed several times.

"Whereas last autumn we ventured to hope that traffic might return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, then nowadays we have to concede that this is more likely to happen in 2027," Värk added.

The final, declared losses, of €3.45 million, were nonetheless nearly 50 percent of the €6.26 million projected for 2021 in last year's report, however.

This was mainly the result of cost-cutting measures, Värk said, which at the same time did not compromise safety or operational results.

Ukraine war has led to 20 percent fall in flights so far

Re-routing flights around Ukraine is additionally costing €12,000 per day, the company says, the result of significant decline in air traffic destined for Asia and the Pacific, or coming from that direction.

Daily flights served by EANS now number 325, since the measures put in place on February 27 – a fall of 21 percent.

Reorganization arising from the Covid downturn resulted in lay-offs of around 50 employees, Värk noted.

EANS is a state-owned public limited company which proves digital air navigation services, together with air traffic management for both manned and unmanned air-vehicles, the company says on its website.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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