Estonian tourism companies: Air traffic restrictions unjustified

  • 2020-11-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL) is waiting for a response from the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas regarding flight restrictions, the association considers the restrictions to be unjustified and too severe.

ETFL considers important the inquiry submitted by MP Eerik-Niiles Kross to the minister regarding the strict flight restrictions imposed in Estonia as, according to the association, the current situation hinders attracting air carriers to Estonia and ensuring Tallinn's connectivity with the rest of Europe.

"While air traffic at Tallinn Airport fell by 89 percent in October due to restrictions, the drop in Europe as a whole is 73 percent and in our region, that is the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, 74 percent," ETFL management board member Sven Lookene said in a press release.

"The restrictions have created a situation where several airlines have stopped flying to Tallinn and even several European Economic Community destinations can only be accessed from Tallinn with two or three layovers," he said.

Lookene added that even when flying to Tallinn from nearby destinations, it may be necessary to stay overnight at the transfer point on the way, and this strongly inhibits people's interest in flying here, which in turn makes Estonia an unattractive destination for air carriers.

"Flight restrictions make Estonia a periphery of Europe and international companies have no reason or wish to expand their operations here, rather, their operations will be moved to easily accessible centers," Lookene said.

The ETFL is a voluntary association of tourism-related employers bringing together 77 members. The main members of the association are Estonian travel agencies and tour operators, with co-members including transport companies, tourism organizations, educational institutions, hotels, insurance companies, providers of support services in the field of tourism and foreign tourism organizations.