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Tallinn airport chief: Estonia should consider buying airBaltic stake

Riivo Tuvike
Riivo Tuvike Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Estonian state should consider buying a stake in Latvian carrier airBaltic, Manager of Tallinn Airport (Tallinna Lennujaam) Riivo Tuvike says, in order to tie the airline closer to that airport.

Speaking to Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" Wednesday, Tuvike (pictured) said: "Ultimately it depends on what the price might be and what we get for it, but I would recommend considering that at least. This is one opportunity that has opened up for us as of today."

aiBaltic has the largest share of the market in Estonia, he said, while if that state were to acquire a stake, it would both anchor airBaltic more closely to Tallinn and likely motivate the company to expand its activities in the Estonian capital.

"Shareholder agreements of this kind can always be concluded. When there is some level of participation, then in accordance with that, for example, a certain number of planes would be based in Tallinn, or a certain number of routes flying from Tallinn would always be opened."

Tuvike added that as a peripheral country in the European sense, it is worth thinking about the development of connections in Estonia in any case, while state support would bring much to the table here.

Should airBaltic float on the stock exchange, however, its decisions will be made based mostly on economic aspects. "This means that we would be looking at the network of connections, and if we see that one route or another is not working out - the occupancy rate is too low, or the profitability is low, then this route would then be closed," Tuvike added.

Lithuania's transport minister, Marius Skuodi,s said Tuesday that his country is considering buying a stake in airBaltic.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, reports appeared that the Latvian government is discussing an initial public offering of minority stakes in state-owned companies, meaning an airBaltic listing might take place in the future.

airBaltic currently flies to and from Tallinn, connecting with several destinations including Riga and Amsterdam.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

Source: 'Uudis+' reporter Madis Hindre.

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