Starting June 20, operator TS Laevad are adding another ferry to their Virtsu-Kuivastu route. A total of 513 additional trips are planned, the company said. At the same time, the Road Administration announced that they are chartering additional flights from Tallinn to Kuressaare on Fridays and Sundays.
TS Laevad's Pille Sauber said on Wednesday that the shipper is expecting a substantial increase in passenger numbers already next week, which is why they are bringing back the Regula, formerly one of the daily ferries between the islands and the Estonian mainland, for the three summer months.
With the extra ship, the company is also opening what it calls a general waiting line option for passengers to buy tickets online that aren't limited to a single specific trip. These tickets can be purchased on Praamid.ee and are valid for the day of purchase as well as the two following days. The ticket allows for changes as well.
According to TS Laevad, the main idea is to make it possible for travelers not booked on a specific crossing to avoid waiting in line at its port ticket offices. The general waiting line extends to vehicles as well.
The summer business is essential for the ferry operator as well as Estonia's islands. As Kauber puts it, some 40 percent of TS Laevad's total annual passenger numbers fall into the three summer months, making the main season the shipper's busiest time of the year as well.
As usual, Midsummer Day (jaanipäev in Estonian, on June 24) and the preceding as well as the following days are expected to be extraordinarily busy, as the islands are a popular destination with Estonian domestic tourists just on these dates as well. Tickets for specific trips on these dates are still available, but will run out at some point, after which the general waiting line is the only option left to cross over to Saaremaa, and travelers will have to wait, Kauber said.
Additional flights to Kuressaare announced
The Road Administration will charter additional flights on the Tallinn-Kuressaare route as well, namely on Fridays and Sundays. This increases the number of Friday flights in each direction to three, and the number of Sunday flights to two.
This intervention became necessary after a public tender to find a new operator for the line was canceled. Still, they need to react to the increased demand over the summer months, the Road Administration said.
Flights to the islands are currently operated by Transaviabaltika.
Editor: Dario Cavegn