Clients complain over flights in clunkers

Nordic Aviationi lennuk seest.

PHOTO: Lugeja foto

To summarise the opening month of new national airline Nordic Aviation Group, an Estonian aviation specialist said it best: he'd not sit in these clunkers. The passengers are grumpy but the staff of Nordic seeks to soothe – come January, being constantly late and having hair stand on end in air will be history.

«Looking back to these past three weeks for Nordic Aviation we’d naturally want all to have gone according to plan,» said Nordic Aviation Group communication chief Liis Veersalu. «The planes used by us have featured problems and this has caused both cancellations and delays. We wish to underline, however, that we understand our passengers and the inconvenience caused to them, and we do sincerely apologise before them all.»

«We hope to be at our best fighting the technical problems once we have exited the so-called rescue operation and have switched to our own planes,» she said. Meanwhile, said Ms Veersalu, the company is striving towards passengers being informed sooner regarding delays or cancellations.  

Plane ceiling dried

But the problems are not limited to flights being late and cancelled. It is the very planes that breed unease and insecurity.

As was the experience of a passenger supposed to fly Amsterdam to Tallinn at 11:40 pm last Wednesday. To say nothing about the flight late for almost an hour – this indeed due to work arrangements at Schiphol airport –, the man was primarily aggravated by the conditions he faced in the plane.

«It was a seat at 11F BMI Regional airplane,» said Toomas (30) who described a seat bottom altogether unglued and nothing noted about that near the seat. As the flight attendant was already busy drying the ceiling of the plane in its front part having just taken off, he decided to make no big fuss about the seat.

Toomas said the plane was rather full and he detected no such faults with the seats of others. «I realise it is not the most critical fault technically and some seats may happen to be like this, but there needs to be a written notice and people should not be directed there,» he thinks.

Nordic Aviation agreed that such seats and faults with interior are unacceptable and they have repeatedly brought that to BMI Regional attention. Meanwhile, they underlined that their hands are short as the fleet isn’t theirs.

But don’t you fear

Former pilot Rein Porro confessed he does not intent to board the planes currently used by Nordic Aviation Group. «Obviously, the planes are old. An engineer flew here a week or two ago and he said the plane was creaking. Four people that I know have said they will not be buying this system’s tickets anymore but will fly Lufthansa or SAS,» said Mr Porro.

«Everybody is bemoaning Estonian Air of course,» observed Mr Porro, adding: «But a decent company isn’t coming here to Estonia, they try to go cheap and then all you get is crap.»

But Mr Porro said there was no need to fear the Slovenian form Adria Airways’ planes as European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rules apply across the EU.

«It’s another matter if aviation agencies in nations are competently staffed, how the attitude is towards the work, and the level of corruption,» added Mr Porro.

He noted that not all nations such as Poland and Slovakia are not totally serious about the law. «The planes are dirty, half falling apart, the seals dripping etc,» he listed.

Nordic Aviation Group is not legally an operator, wherefore it has not been issued an airline certificate, said Estonian Civil Aviation Administration aviation technology department head Kalle Allikson. In other words: Nordic Aviation Group isn’t operating planes but deals with mediation. For Estonia, the flights are executed by foreign firms using foreign planes. Thus, the flight worthiness is up to agencies in these nations to check.

All that Estonian Civil Aviation Administration can do is perform platform checks on the planes and they have done that on seven occasions. «By nature, the findings haven’t been such as would lead to a flight ban,» assured Mr Allikson.

NAG in numbers

  • From 8th to 30th of November Nordic Aviation Group has made 583 flights and carried 20,779 passengers.
  • During three weeks, 15 flights have been cancelled (2.5 percent of all flights).
  • Till end of October 2016 there are 50,819 bookings.