Road Administration announces new procurement for Saaremaa air link

Kuressaare Airport.
Kuressaare Airport. Source: ERR

The Road Administration has announced a new public procurement for a carrier to operate the subsidized Tallinn-Kuressaare-Tallinn air link from April 1, 2020 through May 30, 2024. The estimated value of the contract has been set at €16.8 million.

The deadline for submissions is Nov. 14, it appears from the contract notice.

The Road Administration declared the previous procurement for the same contract void in early June.

Lithuanian carrier Transaviabaltika is currently continuing to operate the Tallinn-Kuressaare route as, pursuant to the Public Transport Act, its contract has been extended until a new carrier is found.

The Road Administration's public procurement process for finding a carrier for a regular air connection between the mainland and the major Western Islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa has been ongoing for almost a year already.

The administration initially specified the terms of the procurement first announced in July 2018, but thereafter canceled the procurement in November. A new procurement with a January deadline was then announced in December. On the Kuressaare route, the Road Administration changed the terms of the procurement, increasing the required number of seats on the aircraft from 33 to 40. The procurement was challenged, and its deadline delayed to February.

Initial procurement outcome canceled

In early May, the Public Procurement Review Committee satisfied the appeal of OÜ Regional Jet, a subsidiary of the Estonian state-owned airline Nordic Aviation Group AS (Nordica), and canceled the outcome of the Tallinn-Kuressaare air services procurement, in which Transaviabaltika had been declared the winning bidder.

According to the Road Administration, the reason for the non-qualification of the offer made by OÜ Regional Jet was the company's negative owner's equity, not taking into account that the challenger had submitted the guarantee of Nordic Aviation Group, its shareholder with a holding of 51 percent.

The Road Administration in turn contested with Tallinn Administrative Court the decision of the Review Committee to declare Regional Jet's offer compliant in the procurement; by the same decision, the decision to declare Transaviabaltika the winner of the procurement was canceled.

The procurement for the provision of air services between the Estonian mainland and its major western islands was divided into two parts — the Kuressaare-Tallinn route and the Kärdla-Tallinn route, serving Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, respectively.
This May, the Road Administration signed a new contract for the provision of air services between Tallinn and Kärdla with a 19-seat Jetstream 31.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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