Estonian Air served 36,359 passengers last month - a 25 percent increase from last year - on its 12 scheduled routes. The company said the number of passengers was highest on the Tallinn-Copenhagen route (9,784), and the average load factor was highest on Paris flights at 83 percent. In April Estonian Air returned its oldest aircraft, built in 1990, to Denmark's Maersk Air and leased a 1998-built plane through Sumisho Aircraft Asset Management B.V. The carrier will soon begin operating five Boeing 737-500 aircrafts that can accommodate 113 passengers.
The Estonian Ministry of Economy and Communications is planning legislative changes in the natural-gas market that will require Eesti Gas (Estonian Gas) to detach the sales operations from production. Einari Kisel, head of the ministry's energy department, said that possible amendments were being prepared. He noted that the new regulation would separate distribution from sales operations in the gas market, pursuant to EU regulations, though many believe that since it is such a small market Estonia should not be required to do so.
Arimaja, an Estonian company, has bought the Jurmala Hotel in Latvia and said it planned to start reconstruction in the next few months. Reconstruction on the hotel, which has been closed for about a decade, is expected to finish by the end of this year. Arimaja bought the Jurmala Hotel from the Norwegian-owned realty company Linstow Varner. Acquiring the hotel in 1997, Linstow promised the Jurmula City Council to put it back into business, but after the two sides failed to find a compromise, the firm sold the hotel to Arimaja at the end of 2003 for 2 million lats (3 million euros).
Despite the fact that the pipeline to Ventspils has remained absolutely dry, oil product deliveries have increased from 2003, the Latvian statistics office stated. In the first three months of 2004, a total of 1.4 million tons of oil products were delivered to Ventspils, a 21.7 percent increase from the first quarter of 2003 and 29.6 percent compared with the last quarter of 2003. At the same time, the pipeline delivered 3.9 million tons of Russian oil to the Lithuanian refinery in Mazeikiai, down 7.1 percent year-on-year but up 5.5 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Lithuania's Arvi Kalakutai, the largest Baltic turkey producer, has boosted exports over recent months. Not only have the company's turkey products from Marijampole reached Latvian shelves, but they will hit the Estonian market this week. "Each turkey sold in Latvia's shopping centers has been raised and processed by our company," said Virginija Sliuziene, Arvi's food director, adding that the company is already talking with meat processors and traders of other EU member states. The meat-processing complex, which opened a few months ago, has so far used approximately 50 million litas (14.5 million euros) in finance, of which one-third was contributed by the EU SAPARD program.
Eesti Telekom's supervisory board said this week that TeliaSonera's takeover offer was "positive" and would eventually lead to better services and prices for customers. Earlier company CEO Krister Bjorkqvist said TeliaSonera's offer of 111.3 kroons (7.22 euros) per share was too low and that no deal would be made unless the Scandinavian telecom giant improved its offer for the state's 26 percent stake.