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Hiiumaa access woes as ferry breaks down, flights suspended for two weeks

The broken-down Leiger at Rohuküla Harbour.
The broken-down Leiger at Rohuküla Harbour. Source: (Juhan Hepner/ERR)

While the island is not entirely cut off from the mainland, access to the Western Estonian island of Hiiumaa is facing some setbacks after the ferry Leiger cancelled all Friday departures due to a breakdown and all flights to the island came to a halt for two weeks as renovation work begins at Kärdla Airport.

Ferry operator TS Laevad, a subsidiary of the Estonian state-owned Port of Tallinn, announced on Friday that all Leiger departures for the day would be cancelled, and that the Rohuküla-Heltermaa route would be served by the Tiiu and the Mercandia.

According to the company, the Mercandia would serve 10:00, 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 22:00 EEST departures from Rohuküla and 11:30, 14:30, 17:30 and 20:30 departures from Heltermaa.

All e-ticket reservations to departures from Rohuküla have been cancelled, and the tickets will count as general queue tickets, with vehicles to be loaded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"The replacement ferry can accommodate significantly fewer vehicles, due to which we are asking all travellers without e-tickets not to travel on these departures," TS Laevad said. "We ask passengers to take into account that dining services will be limited on the Mercandia."

The first Leiger departure to be cancelled was at 22:00 EEST on Thursday.

TS Laevad spokesperson Sirle Arro told ERR on Friday morning that repairmen were en route from Finland to examine the Leiger. She noted that the specialists needed to examine the part that broke down reside in Finland, not that Finnish repairmen are needed for every technical failure.

According to Arro, once the repairmen have determined the exact flaw, the company will be able to estimate how long the Leiger will be out for repairs.

Flights to Kärdla suspended for two weeks

Those hoping to access the island by air instead are likewise out of luck, as flights to Hiiumaa are suspended for the next two weeks due to renovation work underway at Kärdla Airport.

Flights on the Tallinn-Kärdla route will be suspended from 17-31 August due to work being done airside at the airport, Margot Holts, spokesperson for the Estonian state-owned airport company Tallinn Airport, told BNS on Friday. Flights are to resume on 1 September.

Over the next two weeks, the island airport's airstrip, taxiways and apron tarmac will be overhauled, as will its system of navigation lights. The airport's taxiways will also be widened from the current 14m to 15m.

The procurement announced by Tallinn Airport (Tallinna Lennujaam AS), the operator of Kärdla Airport, attracted four offers. The winning tender was made by AS YIT Infra Eesti, which will renovate the airport's airside for a total cost of €1.6 million exclusive of VAT.

Renovation work will be completed by the end of September.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: ERR, BNS

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