Tartu Airport planning to relaunch Helsinki flight connection by autumn

Tartu Airport.
Tartu Airport. Source: Tartu Airport

Tartu City Government is planning to relaunch flights to Helsinki from Estonia's second-biggest city by the autumn and hopes to have 12 weekly flights.

The city initially wanted to restore the connection this spring but the complicated procurement process has stalled proceedings.

Tartu City Secretary Jüri Mölder said Finnair is the most likely company to take over the new tender, rather than a budget airliner. "Our interest is to get the maximum connectivity possible," he said.

Eero Pärgmäe, commercial director of Tallinn Airport, which runs Tartu Airport, said the Finnish capital is currently better connected than Stockholm which makes it a preferable destination.

"At the moment, when the city is doing the procurement, our recommendation is that flights could return from Helsinki," he said.

Flights from Tartu Airport were severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis and have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The city's plan is to bring back morning and evening flights which will hopefully increase business and stimulate the economy.

As flights from Tartu run at a loss, the city is prepared to subsidize the routes and it has paid around €300,000 a year to do so in the past.

Pärgmäe said, realistically, the connection could return in the autumn.

"The process of preparing this procurement in the European Union is regulated in great detail, and very strict rules must be followed in order to carry out the procurement and find a carrier," he said.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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