Tallinn Airport among the best airports in Europe

Tallinn Airport is among the best airports in Europe, based on the overall airport experience determined by travellers who had taken the site’s 2014 airport survey.

The survey conducted by airport guide Sleeping in Airports says that thoughtful touches like rest and relaxation zones, art galleries and museums, libraries that offer book rentals and exchanges, baby-beds in family rooms, and a few fitness and spa facilities help boost the impressiveness of the airports in the list.

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Estonian Air teams up with tour operators

Estonian Air has signed a cooperation agreement with tour operators Novatours and TEZ Tour to increase its share on the market of charter flights. According to the agreement Estonian Air will operate flights to Turkey and Croatia in 2015.

“This agreement is good news for the airline, tour operators and to all holiday takers from Estonia. It is convenient for passengers to communicate on board of an aircraft in their own language, as well as to see smiling crew members of their domestic airline on their holiday commute. We pay more attention to the market of charter flights so that we can keep our aircraft in regular operation and thus use the free capacity of our fleet economically,” said Indrek Randveer, the CCO of Estonian Air.

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Tallink owners plan to buy Estonian Air

According to the restructuring plan that will be submitted to the European Commission on Friday, Infortar, which is a joint owner of the Estonian shipping company Tallink, is also set to become the majority shareholder of Estonian Air.

If the revised restructuring program gets the Commission’s approval, Infortar is expected to invest in the national airline in the spring of 2015.

The changes in ownership also require the approval of the Estonian government.

“Estonia has been looking for opportunities to have a strong private investor among the owners of its national airline for the past three years,” said Ahti Kuningas, Chairman of the Supervisory Council. “Today we have an agreement with a partner who has by far the best vision for the future of the Estonian Air and excellent knowledge of the tourism industry.”

Infortar’s chairman of the management board, Ain Hanschmidt, said that his company wishes to deploy its extensive experience in tourism and service sectors, as well as its financial wherewithal for the benefit of Estonian Air, but this will no doubt be a major challenge.

“We see a few important possibilities for synergy with Tallink that should have an effect on the procurement prices, marketing and the sales network,” he said.

Estonian Air is Estonia’s national airline based in Tallinn at Lennart Meri International Airport. It own four Embraer 170 and three CRJ900 airplanes and operates flights on 10 regular routes, as well as a number of seasonal and charter flights.

Infortar is an investment company that relies on local capital. It owns 36 percent of Tallink Group and focuses on investments in the tourism, transport and real-estate sectors.

In 2013, Estonian Air suffered a deficit of 8.1 million euros. During the first six months of 2014 the airline had accumulated a 5-million-euro deficit.

Source: ERR News

Port of Tallinn reaches agreement on two new ferries

The Port of Tallinn, named by the Ministry of Economic Affairs as the operator for domestic ferry services for 10 years from the fall of 2016, said it has signed contracts to buy two new ferries and is hoping to sign the other two contracts in the next few days.

The requirement of the failed procurement and the following direct negotiations to find the next service provider had a requirement of four ferries, all new or slightly used. CEO of the state-owned company Ain Kaljurand said he hopes to sign construction contracts for the other two ferries in the next few days, adding that all four ships will be ready by October of 2016.

He said it usually took 12 months to draw up the construction project, but in this case, they will save that time and go with a basic project that needs minor tweaks.

Head of current operator Väinamere Liinid head Urmas Treial said two years is a very short time and the process will be rushed. He said when his company ordered its ferries, they asked for specific parameters and ice-breaking capabilities.

Source: ERR News

Ministry of Finance contests ferry tender results

The Ministry of Finance says that the results of the much fought-over ferry tender should be declared null and void.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications announced on Tuesday that the Port of Tallinn, a state-owned company, won the tender to service domestic ferry routes between the mainland and the two largest Estonian islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, for the next decade.

However, the Ministry of Finance said this morning that the final decision by which the Port of Tallinn was chosen as the new service provider, a plan which the government hoped to save 60 million euros over the next 10 years, should be annulled.

Its main criticism is that the first bid of the current provider Väinamere Liinid was unfairly disqualified and the decision to carry out the procurement by direct negotiations was made too hastily.

The document sent to Minister of Economic Affairs Urve Palo, who was responsible for the tender, said: “The violation [of the tender protocol] is fundamental and lasting and could not be eliminated or terminated in the later phases of the tender.”

A press officer of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications told uudised.err.ee that the document that the Ministry of Finance sent them is not an order to declare the tender void but a draft of the monitoring results.

“We will present our objections and arguments and the dispute committee will not make a decision for another few weeks,” the press officer said.

The head of the procurement commission, Jaak Kaabel, said the bid made by the Port of Tallinn was much cheaper than that of the current operator Väinamere Liinid, and also offered newer ferries.

Väinamere Liinid has said it is a conflict of interest that ministry staff – which supervise the state-owned Port of Tallinn, the winner of the contract – were deciding the result of the procurement, and that this is in violation of public procurement and competition laws. The ministry counters that there are no other qualified specialists to handle the procurement.

Source: ERR News

Tallinn in new free transport initiative

The capital city of Tallinn already offers residents free public transport; now it wants to eliminate car-fare for drivers who leave their vehicles in a designated lot and proceed on the buses, trams and trolleybuses.

The city government has sent a bill to that effect to city council last week, Postimees reported.

Drivers will have to have the green farecard that the city uses to collect data on ridership, and a minimum balance of 3 euros on the account linked to the farecard. They will have to leave their cars in parking lots signposted as park & ride (“pargi ja reisi” in Estonian).

There is one park and ride, or P&R lot in the Pirita district, two on the city center stretch of Pärnu maantee, and one in the Õismäe district.

The city’s transport department found that the first two of these are usually 85-95 percent full.

The way it would work is that the driver’s account will not be debited for a parking fee if their farecard is swiped at least once in the course of the day.

Source: ERR News

New Motor Insurance Act as of 1.10.2014

The Ministry of Finance hereby reminds all those interested that as of tomorrow a new Motor Insurance Act will enter into force. The Act places motor insurance into the contemporary legal system, elaborates on and amends a number of requirements and definitions, and, all in all, renders it more convenient for the customer to obtain the relevant insurance.

The new law transforms the motor insurance contract into a regular insurance contract. The contract can be concluded with a term of no more than one year and, for the contractual period, a policy certifying the applicability of insurance will be issued. When required, a contract that is automatically extended can be concluded.

The most significant amendment pertains to the injured party’s right to claim compensation for motor insurance damage from their insurer, providing the customer with the opportunity to arrange the relevant matters through their usual service channels.
This principle will take effect on January 1, 2015. So as to receive compensation, the customer will have a choice of whether to approach their own insurer or the insurer of the person that caused the damage. Damage will be compensated by the insurer whom the customer approached. Insurers will clear their accounts amongst themselves later.
Old motor insurance contracts will be binding until expiry of the insurance period noted on the policy and such old contracts need not be amended once the new Act takes effect. Claims that arose prior to the new Act taking effect will be processed pursuant to the old Act. 
The new Act will increase the sums insured: the property insurance related limit of 1 million will be increased to 1.2 million euros, and the limit related to bodily injury or damage caused to someone’s health will be increased from the current 5 million to 5.6 million euros. 
Attention is continually paid to uninsured vehicles. Vehicles entered in the traffic register may remain uninsured for no more than 12 months, given that the vehicle will not be used in traffic.
Vehicles that remain uninsured for a longer period of time are subject to the Estonian Traffic Insurance Foundation’s automatic insurance cover instead of the Foundation’s heightened insurance premium system. This will lessen the percentage of uninsured vehicles in traffic and helps collect means to compensate damage caused by uninsured vehicles. 
For such vehicles, the owner will have to pay the Estonian Traffic Insurance Foundation insurance premiums and should an accident occur, excess will be imposed.
More information about the new Act is available in Estonian at http://www.lkf.ee/et/uusseadus.
Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

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