Nordica Saaremaa route cancellation appeal overturned

Aircraft operated by Transaviabaltika between Tallinn and the major Western Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Aircraft operated by Transaviabaltika between Tallinn and the major Western Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Source: Transaviabaltika

Air carrier Nordica has seen its appeal on the nullification of its contract to serve the Estonian island of Saaremaa overruled.

In early June, the Road Administration, the authority responsible for transport links between Saaremaa and the mainland, declared the procurement procedure in the Tallinn-Kuressaare flight route invalid, leaving it unclear who will be operating the route in future.

Nordica subsidiary Regional Air had previously won the contract, up to then operated by Lithuanian carrier Transviabaltika.

Now the finance ministry's Public Procurement Review Committee of the Ministry of Finance (VAKO) has rejected Nordica's appeal, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Nordica press chief Toomas Uibo told ERR Friday that the appeal had been lodged and that a decision was expected Monday. At the same time, director of traffic at the Road Administration, Meelis Telliskivi, said that a new round of procurement for the route was being prepared.

"We have started preparing a new procurement process. It is too early to say when it will go to the public procurement register. When the exact time comes, we will let you know," said Telliskivi.

The original procurement, estimated at €26 million, was announced in December 2018. One factor was that Transviabaltika's 19-seater Let L-410 Turbolet planes were too small, and, after the Lithuanian firm saw its contract initially renewed, this was reversed with the decision to award the contract to Regional Air/Nordica instead, only for this to be cancelled as well.

Transviabaltika continued operating the route under its original contract to June 1, and had offered to up its frequency of flights as a way to alleviate the limited places available.

Tickets to Transviabaltika flights were still available on the company's website at press time. The company also serves Kärdla, the capital of Estonia's second-largest island, Hiiumaa.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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