Estonian Air cutting down on crew, aircraft and routes

In an effort to cut costs, 17 of the 58 pilots working for Estonian Air will be made redundant, the Estonian national carrier’s fleet of Boeing aircraft will be changed to smaller planes and frequencies on several routes will be cut, most probably between Tallinn and Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Milan, Munich and Stockholm. These routes have the most problems with passenger numbers, Economy Minister of Estonia Juhan Parts said.

Right now, the airline has two Boeing 737-300s and four Boeing 737-500s, but in the near future it will use just three Bombardier CRJ900NextGen aircraft and one Boeing 737. For comparison, Äripaev mentions that airBaltic has 26 aircraft and flyLAL 17, to say nothing of the fleet of 66 aircraft owned by Finnair. The reasoning is that while Boeings have between 118 and 142 seats and can fly between 3,150 and 3,650 km, the Bombardier has 90 seats and can fly up to 3,070 km. In an interview with newspaper Äripaev, Parts is critical of the airline’s management: “There are no ambitions, nor a clear development plan. They are opening and closing routes, then opening other routes. The state is interested in the airline operating and developing efficiently and that Tallinn should have a sufficient number of direct links to other destinations,” said Parts, who oversees the 34 percent state holding in Estonian Air.

 Source: Baltic Standby, Äripaev

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