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State announces new €26 million procurement for island air services

A  British Aerospace Jetstream  32 operated by Transaviabaltika between Tallinn and Kärdla on Hiiumaa.
A British Aerospace Jetstream 32 operated by Transaviabaltika between Tallinn and Kärdla on Hiiumaa. Source: Transaviabaltika

The Estonian Road Administration has announced a new public procurement for finding a carrier for regular flights serving routes connecting Tallinn to the Western Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. The estimated value of the five-year contract to be concluded is €25.5 million.

Aviation companies' tenders are to be submitted by 24 January and the winning bidder will begin servicing the routes on 1 June 2019, when the contract with current carrier Transaviabaltika expires.

Separate tenders can be submitted for the Tallinn-Kuressaare and Tallinn-Kärdla routes. The cost of the trip accounts for 70% of the weight of the tender and the age of the main aircraft for 30%.

In early November, the Road Administration cancelled an earlier procurement for finding an operator for the two island routes as it included a requirement that environmentallyfriendly aircraft must be used, which would have prevented the use of turboprop engines, as in the course of the tendering procedure it became evident that certified carbon dioxide emissions data regarding such engines was not available.

"We did not wish to exclude provision of service with turboprop-powered aircraft," explained Andry Palu, head of the Department for Public Procurements at the Estonian Road Administration. "This would have resulted in an ineffective competition and unequal treatment of bidders. To prevent such a situation, our only option was to cancel the procurement."

Estonia's national airline, operating under the Nordica brand, for instance, requested the use of the ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop airliners currently servicing the routes from Tallinn to Estonia's two large western islands.

Transavia spokesperson Rene Must told BNS that the requirement regarding carbon dioxide emissions was incomprehensible as it was not rational to expect companies would use jet planes on routes to Kuressaare and Kärdla.

The procurement announced in July attracted requests from the state-owned airline Nordica in combination with its subsidiary Regional Jet OÜ as well as from Lithuania's Transaviabaltika, the carrier currently serving the two island routes. Requests were also filed by Estonian commercial carriers AS Airest and NyxAir OÜ.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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