Cooperation with Nordica brings new airline, Marabu, to Estonia

Nordic Aviation Group CEO Jan Palmer and Marabu CEO Paul Schwaiger.
Nordic Aviation Group CEO Jan Palmer and Marabu CEO Paul Schwaiger. Source: Marabu

Paul Schwaiger, chair of the board of the newly founded airline Marabu, said that the cooperation with Nordica and XFly was the reason for establishing the company in Estonia. Jan Palmer, CEO of the Nordic Aviation Group, said the cooperation is a profitable venture for the state-owned Nordica.

"Marabu was founded here due to the exceptional aeronautical knowledge of people, their high work culture and their recent business successes," Schwaiger said in a press release.

"We are extremely grateful of the Estonian Transport Administration's prompt and efficient processing of the air operator certificate. This is precisely the kind of promptness and assistance that every European airline startup needs today," Schwaiger added.

Commenting on the birth of the new airline, Jan Palmer, the director of Nordica, Estonia's national airline, said it is significant that the new airline has chosen to be based in Estonia.

"This shows that local competence is highly valued and Estonia is considered as an aviation nation," Palmer said.

Palmer: We offered the opportunity to set up an airline in Estonia

Palmer told ERR on Tuesday that people from investment firm Attestor, which also owns Condor, Marabu's parent company, were first interested in working with Nordica.

Palmer said that when discussing the possibilities of cooperation, it became clear that they wanted to set up their own airline.

"We offered the possibility of setting it up in Estonia and they thought it was an excellent idea. It doesn't really matter where the company is based, but we can help them with local services from here," Palmer explained.

ERR also asked why flights from Tallinn to Hamburg and Munich were added to Marabu's flight list, when the company mainly focuses on flights from these cities to Mediterranean destinations.

"First, they want to see if they could attract more passengers to the network in order to establish a hub here. And because we are here ourselves, we have got quite a lot of Estonian flying staff for Airbus planes," Palmer said.

"However, their decision to open up the market is primarily a business decision. It is possible to fly from Tallinn to Munich or Hamburg and then to Mediterranean destinations. The fact that they want to widen this is good for the Estonian market," Palmer said."

Palmer explained that as Nordica is not a commercial company, they would not be able to fly the same routes themselves.

"We do not offer ticket sales; we provide services to other airlines," Palmer said.

Palmer did not disclose how much Nordica earns from its partnership with Marabu, but acknowledged that the partnership is profitable. "Working with us is also cost-effective for Marabu," he added.

Palmer said a total of 90 crew members will be working on the three Nordica Airbus A320neos, with the majority of them residing in Hamburg and Munich. In addition, 10 to 15 full-time employees will be employed at the Tallinn office of Marabu, which will share space with Nordica.

Attestor, a London-based investment firm, is the owner of both Marabu and Condor. In the beginning, Marabu will market its airline reservations through Condor, which will serve as Marabu's sales agent.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Merilin Pärli, Kristina Kersa

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