Nordica's announced withdrawal from the passenger business is "not a good solution" in terms of the state's strategic interest in the airline, finds former finance minister, Sven Sester (Isamaa). The decision now is to either find a strategic partner for the airline, or then to sell the state's stake in the company altogether, he added.
Sester, who today is chairman of the Riigikogu's Economic Affairs Committee, pointed out that after the bankruptcy of Estonian Air, the only reason why Nordica was created was to guarantee direct flights to strategically important destinations.
The strategic interests involved range from offering a selection of destinations to Estonian residents to connections important to the Estonian economy, and bringing more visitors in, Sester said.
But now the airline has announced further route closures, and on top of that is changing its agreement with Polish flag carrier LOT, reducing Nordica's role to that of providing wet lease aircraft, while LOT takes care of everything else, from ticketing right down to customer service.
"Nordica won't have its own routes anymore, and won't take any of the related business risks, but will instead operate through its subsidiary, Regional Jet," Sester said. "This means that Nordica is turned into a subcontractor that only operates routers for carriers of other countries."
This, according to Sester, begs the question which of the Estonian state's strategic interests Nordica is still serving. Subcontracting work for other airlines certainly isn't among them.
"We need an analysis into whether or not we'll look for another strategic partner, and perhaps increase activities much like Air Baltic did it, or then we need to finally sell the state's stake in the company," Sester said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn