Estonia stays afloat-SAS saves the day

  • 2009-01-20
  • TBT staff

The Estonian carrier continues with help from SAS and is set to increase flights.

TALLINN - Estonian Air isstill flying high among Baltic carriers thanks to loans from controlling shareholder SAS airlines.

The short-term loans will be sued to paysalaries, purchase fuel as well as purchase new aircraft.

SAS has given the Estonian airline monthly short-term loansof around 2 million euro, reported Marika Priske, secretary general of the Economyand Communications Ministry.

According to Aripaev daily'sinformation, SAS most recently loaned EstonianAir 2 million euro. The Estoniancarrier borrowed at least as much from the parent company last fall.

"I know that a new loan ofroughly the same size is about to arrive soon," said Priske, who explained thatthe majority of Estonian Air'sown working assets were used as the first installment on three brand-newBombardier aircraft to be delivered in spring 2009.

One new aircraft costsapproximately 430 million kroons (27.5 million euro).

"The short-term loans areused to pay employees' salaries, buy fuel and maintain the aircraft. The boardhas made an analysis which shows that EstonianAir hopes to climb out of the red three months after putting the new aircraftinto service," Priske said.

Estonian Air will receive their first 90-seater CRJ900 NextGen type aircraftthis April.

Ilona Eskelinen, a spokeswoman for EstonianAir, said that no concrete routes had been fixed for the aircraft but the firstflight with the new aircraft would be made on the Tallinn-Brussels line on May11.

The remaining two aircraft will arrive in Estonia in May and June.

The present Estonian Airfleet consists of two 142-seating Boeing 737-300 aircraft and four 118-seaterBoeing 737-500 aircraft. The fleet of EstonianAir Regional consists of two 33-seater SAAB 340 aircraft.