Erik Sakkov, board member of Tallinn Airport, writes in Postimees daily that so far, six airlines that Tallinn Airport was hoping to attract to Tallinn, pulled out of negotiations because of the ongoing problems in Estonian Air.
“Without naming names, I can say that problems with the national carrier have not yet attracted any new airlines to Tallinn, while six airlines that were planning to add Tallinn to their network pulled out because they were hoping to connect their network to Estonian Air’s route network.
There is also another myth: airlines would come to Tallinn if Tallinn Airport were to lower its fees. Actually, Tallinn Airport is already charging some of the region’s lowest fees.
Moreover, of route service costs of airlines, about a third is financial cost such as leasing, another 30 percent is fuel cost while 30 percent is personnel cost and only about 4 percent is airport fees. Since airport fees are charged by the source and destination airports, Tallinn can affect only 2 percent of the airline’s costs.
We could cut our airport fees to zero, but instead of attracting more airlines to Tallinn the only outcome would be that Tallinn Airport would go bankrupt,” writes Sakkov.
He adds that Estonian passengers are not enough to keep up quality air destinations. If we want to travel at least once a day to some of Europe’s main cities, we need to have passengers from Finland, Russia, Latvia or Georgia. “If this requires selling a minority stake to some large airline in the East who finds the network to Estonian Air attractive, so be it. Charge them only one euro, because we would still be winning,” concludes Sakkov.