Parts: EU should allow supporting airlines

  • 2013-02-20

Juhan Parts.

TALLINN – Estonian Economy and Communications Minister Juhan Parts said on Tuesday in Brussels at the European Union competitiveness council meeting that in a situation where the state has just one main airport, and the market is small, there should be a possibility of supporting in limited scope the local aviation companies, Postimees Online reports.

"I don’t see that Estonia could influence the general situation of competition with its 0.0018 percent market share of the European aviation," he added.

The position of Estonia and several other states is that there should be separate rules for cases where a state is connected to European centres only via one international airport and it is not possible to guarantee connections using other forms of transport. The rules of state aid to regional airports and aviation companies operating in them should be clear and flexible to guarantee competitiveness of airports of EU periphery areas in the EU domestic market and third states. Thus the state aid rules should be reviewed.

"We can talk about Rail Baltica in a decade, we don't have any other possibilities of connecting economically with Europe besides air connections," Parts said.

Parts said that aviation is a volume business and 1.3 million inhabitants cannot cover it. Tallinn is open to low cost carriers but those fly 10 percent of all frequencies and don’t cover the main cities or hubs.