Last April, European Commission decided to extend inquiries to state aid granted to Estonian Air. The commission chose to investigate governmental decision to increase an earlier rescue loan by extra €28.7m in February.
Since 2009, Estonian Air has received state aid several times, including three capital injections totalling €57m.
75 percent of Infortar belongs to Linandell owned by Enn Pant, Kalev Järvelill and the family of Ain Hanschmidt. The rest of the firm belongs to small investors. Last year, Linandell made €23.3m of profits; as at end of last year, its assets volume stood at €435m. In 2013, the company paid out a total of €12m in dividends.
Economy minister (SDE, soc dems)
Since 2011 when Estonian Air started to seek a new owner, the state has communicated with five-six possible partners. Of these, Infortar had the best vision by far. Broadly, it coincides with Estonia’s goals – for both of us, air traffic is strategically important. On it depend tourism, competitiveness, the freedom of movement of our own people. It is important to have a company operating on our market whose home airport is Tallinn.
It is very hard to predict governmental decision on how large a share of the airline will remain in state hands, as the deal will be confirmed by the new government after the elections.
secretary-general of Estonian Travel & Tourism Association
Aviation being central in tourism, the entire Estonian tourism sector is thumbs up to the possible new owner Estonian Air as on their success hangs the wellbeing of hundreds of enterprises and thousands of employees. In my estimation, Infortar’s entry injects confidence in enterprises operation in tourism.
Also, the deal will probably add optimism to Estonian Air as an organisation – the involvement of a strong private owner might come as a second wind to them. Infortar is one of the most successful tourism enterprises in the region, owning both hotels and a ship and a taxi company, while an airline would bring added synergy.
chairman of Centre Party faction
Strategic companies need to be state owned. Steps taken by Estonian Air’s former CEO Tero Taskila and by the IRL prime ministerial candidate Juhan Parts laid the foundation for the current situation where the national airline is now ending up in private hands. We know that Estonian Air is subjected to banned state aid proceedings with possible sanctions by European Commission pending. Now, the government has concluded that Estonian Air may be saved by private investors thus preventing the obligation to pay back the state aid so far plus interests. The question remains: with so many flights and such a small number of passengers, is it at all possible to keep a national carries without state aid.