TALLINN - The three Fokker passenger jets that Estonian Air had hoped to purchase from Hungary's Malev slipped through the company's fingers after an agreement was made to extend Malev's leasing contract, the daily Eesti Paevaleht reported. The leasing company that owns the Fokkers told Estonian Air that it was extending its contracts with Malev, which were originally set to expire in 2007. The decision has complicated things for Estonian Air, since finding similar aircraft on the market is nearly impossible, the newspaper stated. The company is now rethinking its future plans.
Estonian Air's current fleet consists of four 118-seat Boeing 737-500s and one 142-seat Boeing 737-300. Since its flight plan requires six aircraft, one plane at a time is rented from various companies. This kind of arrangement means that, effectively, the Estonian carrier is paying double the normal rent for its extra capacity.
Estonian Air Vice President Mart Relve refused to comment on the failed deal with Hungary's Malev.
"All we can say today is that in all likelihood we're going to get one more Boeing 737-300 this year and in the following years we'll try to diversify our fleet," Relve said. The extra Boeing was originally expected to join Estonian Air's fleet in mid-May, but the company was unable to find a suitable aircraft.