According to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in 2015, to increase the number of regional flight connections the state would need to buy two small aircraft with a capacity to transport 19 passengers each.
The survey, done by Lufthansa Consulting and Estonian applied research institute Centar in late 2015, brought out the purchase of two small airplanes as the most effective way of increasing connections to more remote airfields.
The small 19-seater turboprops the survey suggested would operate without any in-flight service, which would mean no additional staffing costs beyond the pilots. This would make the connections cheaper, the survey found.
As daily Päevaleht wrote on Wednesday, the survey also called for newer-generation planes, as these would have lower maintenance costs. Also, operating two planes would mean fewer cancellations and problems on domestic routes.
The survey also recommended to start the tender procedure in late 2016, so that the aircraft would become available no later than March 2018.
According to the director of the ministry’s aviation and maritime department, Taivo Linnamägi, the ministry is using the findings of the survey to improve the flight connections to the islands.
Linnamäe pointed out in his comment that the current operator’s agreement would expire in May 2019, and that a new tender would be announced before that.
The current provider on the island routes is Lithuanian company Transaviabaltika. Before them, Estonian company Avies had operated the routes for many years, but lost its operational license last year.
Editor: Dario Cavegn