Jan Palmer appointed Nordica CEO

Jan Palmer.
Jan Palmer. Source: Nordic Aviation Group

Jan Palmer has been appointed CEO of Estonian state airline Nordica, replacing Erki Urva, who resigned in January.

Palmer, a Swedish national, had been working as head of Nordica subsidiary Regional Jet up until now.

Nordica board chair David O'Brock said: "Jan Palmer has worked in aviation for 45 years and brings with him a wealth of experience."

"We are delighted that he is also committed to contributing to the development and restructuring of the national airline, Nordic Aviation GroupX," O'Brock added.

Palmer himself said that turning a profit was the number one priority for the airline going forward and in the wake of the coronavirus-blighted years of 2020 and 2021.

He said: "The expectation of our owners is that a state-owned company will be profitable, and this will give us a clear framework for the options for the Estonian airline to meet this expectation."

"This means that as the chairman of the board of Nordic Aviation Group, I will focus on developing the airline's profitable business," said Palmer.

Eteri Harring, the group's CFO, had temporarily headed up Nordica between January and the company's supervisory board appointing Palmer.

The new board composition will start work next month.

Palmer is a former head of Estonian Air, the former national carrier which was wound up in November 2015 after a state subsidy was adjudged to fall foul of EU regulations on the matter. Nordica commenced its operations the same day Estonian Air was wound up. Erki Urva is also a former Estonian Air CEO.

Nordica financial yearly report: Turned a profit despite difficulties

Nordica said that the past financial year has been successful, given the difficult conditions relating to the coronavirus pandemic and the energy and security crises, and even met Palmer's later-stated target of making a profit, of €1.2 million.

The company had a turnover of €60.2 million in the past financial year, Nordica reported Friday.

This compared with a turnover the previous financial year of €61 million, along with losses of €10.5 million.

Nordic Aviation Group operates 16 aircraft and employs nearly 500 staff in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Lithuania, and says it plans to significantly increase its fleet in the coming years.

In 2021, the group carried around 23,000 passengers – a rise of 1,000 on the preceding year – though operated jus the one commercial route, Stockholm-Arvidsjaur-Gällivare (the Regional Jet subsidiary runs domestic routes in Sweden).

The company says it plans to wet-lease larger aircraft than the Bombardier CRJ700s and ATR 72-600s it currently operates, namely a 180-seat Airbus 320, which will allow it to enter the tour and charter market also, something the company said it had had its eye on before the disruption of the Covid pandemic.

The major risk facing the company in the coming year is a general deterioration in the macroeconomic situation, which could lead to a decline in purchasing power, the company says, in addition to any national flight and movement restrictions which may emerge.

The requirement to present a Covid certificate when arriving in Estonia expires on July 1, the government announced Thursday.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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