When the prime minister's schedule conflicts with that of commercial flights, the state charters a private aircraft. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) used a chartered aircraft on nine occasions in 2018, with a contribution out of the budget of the Prime Minister's Office of €52,875.
Mr Ratas took office in late 2016, and since then has presided over the Estonian government during the 2017 EU council presidency as well as the Estonia 100 centennial year, both of which made the state's foreign visits schedule a great deal busier than usual.
With that, Mr Ratas' number of chartered flights was significantly higher also in 2018 than that of his immediate predecessor, Taavi Rõivas (Reform), who in his busiest year used a private plane on six occasions.
"Prime Minister Jüri Ratas used chartered flights on nine occasions last year, of which seven had to do with European Union summits. The total cost was €206,775. Estonia will be compensated for €153,900 by the Council of the European Union, and €52,875 come out of the budget of the Prime Minister's Office," Karin Kangro, spokesperson for the prime minister, told the Baltic News Service on Friday.
It is customary for ministers' travel expenses on the way to EU summits and council meetings to be paid out of the European Union's budget. As Mr Ratas travelled on such business on seven occasions in 2018, the actual number of chartered flights paid for by the Estonian state is two.
"Chartered flights are used as exceptions, and they make up a smaller portion of all foreign visits of the prime minister. As a rule, the prime minister travels on scheduled flights," Ms Kangro said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn