Irish no-frills airline Ryanair has listed tickets for the autumn and winter seasons from airports close to Estonia, but not to and from Tallinn Airport as yet, ERR reports.
Ryanair had protested a hike in airport fees the airport announced early on this year.
Tallinn Airport Commercial Director Eero Pärgmae told ERR that, despite this, he does not believe Ryanair will leave the Estonian market altogether, in an interview which follows in its entirety.
Ryanair is currently selling tickets for autumn-winter flights from Riga, Vilnius and Helsinki, but not from Tallinn yet. Do you happen to know why?
The question about the winter flight schedule is as always primarily one for the airline itself, i.e. when exactly will these tickets go on sale. Several airlines have told us in recent weeks that their winter schedules are still being updated, while the final winter flight schedule will actually be confirmed in mid-June when the "slot conference" takes place, and only after that will the winter schedules take shape.
Furthermore, no winter flight schedule is currently listed on the Tallinn Airport site, as it is not yet final, so we cannot display it.
What is a 'slot conference?'
This is the point at which routes are discussed, which will be flying and which will not, and which slots at major airports will get freed up. In other words, this is that point where the flight schedule for the winter is largely blocked-out, and resources are then planned for, both by the airports and the airlines themselves.
Has the airport communicated on the Ryanair theme, and will they continue to fly from Tallinn from next winter?
The communication between the airport and Ryanair has actually been going on all winter, and we have also visited them, and discussed their future plans. The communication with the airline is ongoing, but at present it is purely a decision for the airline, at what volume it will put tickets on sale and when it will do so.
Why is it that we have all the information about Helsinki, Riga and Vilnius, but not about Tallinn?
This, too, depends on the airline's own internal decision-making processes, because tickets for other markets did not go on sale on the same day. When the flight plan for one location is fixed, the next one is taken and so they will put tickets on sale in succession.
Of course, we would also be particularly happy if the winter flight schedule were already on sale, plus it would also be a boon for customers. At the moment we don't see a big problem with it going on sale in the near future.
It is your personal conviction that Ryanair will continue to fly from Tallinn?
If we look at the eight routes that Ryanair operates out of Tallinn as of today, we can see that they are performing strongly, while the occupancy rates are good, so we have no reason to think that this should hold anything up here.
Have you asked them in the course of your daily interactions if they are continuing?
That is the airline's own decision, and it is not one they discuss with the airports. This is for the airlines themselves.
If Ryanair no longer flies from Tallinn in the winter, how big of a loss would it be for the airport?
Every destination and every carrier is vital to Tallinn, which is why we naturally hope that Ryanair's winter flight schedule will be both busy and practical.
At the same time, if they make some different decisions, we are very happy to say that quite a few airlines are interested in opening additional routes from Tallinn, and Tallinn will definitely not remain without a connection.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Radio news