Yesterday and the day before yesterday, flyNordic and KLM made their first flights from Tallinn, offering the national carrier Estonian Air some tough competition. “It is not our plan that Estonian Air will end its flights,” claimed Harm Kreulen, head of KLM’s Northern Europe branch. He believes that there is enough room for two players on the Amsterdam route, as the number of passengers at Tallinn International Airport grew by 35 percent last year. If the seat factor is at least 70 percent in the first year, KLM will add a second plane. The figure for the first flight was 60 percent. In total, KLM flies to 225 destinations in cooperation with Air France. “Estonian Air offers flights to people who want to go from Tallinn to Amsterdam, but we offer flights to those who want to go from Tallinn to the world,” explained Pierre De Baecque, head of Air France’s Northern Europe region.
According to data published yesterday, Estonian Air’s operating loss in 2004 amounted to EEK 8.7 million (EUR 0.55 million). In addition, the company is falling behind in an ever-growing market. Although the national carrier ended the year in profit of nearly EEK 30 million, the operating loss is disappointing. In earlier statements, the company only discussed its profit. CEO Olev Schults admitted that the company fell behind the general market development last year. This was especially significant in terms of charter flights. Estonian Air has not been able to find a new executive manager, even though the competition ended two months ago. Employees have started to resign due to future uncertainty and pilots are demanding higher wages.