Nordica closing further routes, leaving commercial risk to LOT

Nordica jets at Tallinn Airport.
Nordica jets at Tallinn Airport. Source: (Erik Prozes/Postimees/Scanpix)

Flag carrier Nordica announced on Friday that it will drop another five of its routes this fall. The airline's flights to Kiev, Copenhagen, Trondheim, Vienna, and Vilnius are no longer profitable, and the routes will be closed permanently at the end of October this year.

Nordica also signed a new cooperation agreement with Polish flag carrier LOT. The agreement further reduces Nordica's involvement in the airline business on the whole, leaving ticket sales and customer service to LOT, while it will concentrate entirely on operating flights.

It is this reorganization of business priorities that has led to the discontinuation of the five routes as well, the company said. In Nordica's own language, the flights are "suspended until the competitive situation improves."

Flights from Tallinn to Stockholm, Brussels, and Warsaw will continue to be operated, albeit no longer by Nordica, but by LOT directly, the company said on Friday.

Kristi Ojakäär, member of Nordica's management, called the move "a forward-looking business decision" and said that Nordica has a "duty" to ensure its own profitability and sustainability, as the state as its owner expects just that.

"Strong competition and oversupply of seats on routes to Tallinn don't allow us to operate profitably today. In order to maintain readiness and our ability to provide the necessary regional air connections to Estonia in the future, Nordica will continue to provide air services, and LOT will deal with routes and ticket sales and carry the commercial risk," Ojakäär said.

She added that what is happening at the moment is that Nordica is adapting the same business for the domestic market and connections to Tallinn that it has applied to its subcontracting business, namely to reduce its role to that of air service provider. "We'll now implement this model in all markets," she added.

Nordica developing own ticket sales system anyway

The change to LOT and Nordica's deal won't affect the number of people working for the airline, and won't affect its flight numbers either, Ojakäär stressed. At the same time, to be ready for future developments, Nordica will develop its own ticketing system despite just having passed this task on to LOT.

Contrary to the impression left in her explanation of Nordica's commercial situation, Ojakäär then went on to say that the situation at Tallinn Airport is better than ever, and that there are more flight connections than there have ever been.

Moreover, Ojakäär sees Nordica as having had a decisively positive influence, and that the airline has "most certainly" contributed to expanding the market.

Trondheim only destination without replacement

While LOT, SAS, Wizz Air, Norwegian and Air Baltic will continue to fly to Kiev, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Vilnius, there is no replacement connection for Nordica's Trondheim route.

According to Nordica's management, tickets on routes to be closed down can still be bought for flights leaving before Oct. 26. Anyone with a ticket already purchased for a later date will be offered alternative options, or a cash refund.

Nordic Aviation Group, operating under the trade name Nordica, was founded in 2015 following on the collapse of flag carrier, Estonian Air. Initially working with Adria Airways, Nordica entered into a partnership with Polish flag carrier LOT in 2016.


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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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