Tallink names its new LNG powered ferry Megastar

Tallink`s new LNG powered fast ferry delivered in 2017 will be named Megastar, the company has announced. The name was chosen among 21 550 name proposals submitted to the public name contest.

The keel-laying ceremony of the new vessel will take place at the Meyer Turku Yard in Finland on February 9.

According to the Chairman of the Board of AS Tallink Grupp, Janek Stalmeister the name enables to maintain the unity among the names in the Tallink Shuttle fast ferry family, which includes the Star and the Superstar. “As Megastar will be among the largest of her kind in the world, this name expresses perfectly the characteristics of the ship. It is also easy to pronounce in Estonian, Finnish and other languages. As there were so numerous entries with that name, we also see it as the wish of many of our passengers“, Stalmeister said, explaining that the name was proposed by more than 300 times as part of the naming competition. Altogether there were 14,200 entries from Finland, 5,300 entries from Estonia and 2,050 entries through the international website.

The production of the new LNG powered fast ferry started in Meyer Turku Yard in Finland on August 4.

The price of the ship is 230 million Euros and it is planned to be delivered in the beginning of 2017.

Megastar will be 212 meters long, can accommodate altogether 2,800 passengers and will start operating on Tallinn-Helsinki route.

The new environmentally friendly ship uses LNG as fuel and she will comply with the new and stricter emission regulations for the ECA areas including the Baltic Sea. The ship, with a gross tonnage of 49 000 and service speed of 27 knots, will bring significant improvement in energy efficiency. The highly innovative hull form minimizes the flow resistance and ensures that the ship operates well in ice conditions.

http://news.err.ee/v/economy/210408bd-c365-4895-90e7-8db7698077c0/tallink-names-its-new-lng-powered-ferry-megastar

Source: ERR via Estonian Review

Foreign visitors spent 400 mEUR in Estonia in 3Q

A record number of visitors from abroad came to Estonia in the third quarter, with 2.1 million visits, which is 4% more than in the third quarter of last year. There were one third more visitors from Asian countries and they accounted for 6% of all visitors, their largest share ever registered. There were slightly fewer visitors from Finland than a year earlier and they accounted for one third of the total, which is the smallest share in recent years. The number of Russian residents visiting Estonia also continued to decline, and there were 14% fewer such visits in the third quarter of this year than in the same quarter of last year. At the same time there were increased numbers of visitors from Germany, Spain, Latvia and the USA.

In all, 43% of the visitors to Estonia stayed for more than one day, and their average stay was five days. It is estimated that multi-day visitors spent a total of 250 million euros, and single-day visitors spent 150 million euros.

Estonian residents made 1.1 million visits to foreign countries in the quarter, which was 1% more than a year earlier1. Three quarters of those visits were made to the European Union. People from Estonia travelled more to holiday destinations like Greece, Turkey, Italy and Croatia, but the numbers going to Portugal fell by 38%, to Hungary by 25%, and to Finland by 11%. There were 3% more multi-day visits, but their average length remained constant at 4.6 days. Single-day visits accounted for 27% of the total, and there were 2% fewer such visits than in the third quarter of last year. Visitors from Estonia to foreign countries spent an estimated 185 million euros.

1 The number of trips abroad and the number of visits to foreign countries are not the same, as one trip abroad may include visits to several different countries.

The movement of travellers has a noticeable effect on the export and import of travel services in the Estonian balance of payments, which will be published on 9 December.

Source: Bank of Estonia / EESTI PANK

Nordic Aviation Group has sold over 31,000 tickets

The new Estonian airline, Nordic Aviation Group (NAG), has sold 31,444 tickets during the five days since launching ticket sales.

“Altogether 6,438 passengers have flown with us and we have made 147 flights,” Nordic Aviation Group spokesperson Liis Veersalu said in a press release.

Formed by the Estonian government and fully owned by the state, Nordic Aviation Group started serving passengers on eight different routes — Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Kiev, Trondheim and Vilnius — in cooperation with five European flight operators on Nov. 8.

Currently the role of Nordic Aviation is limited to ordering the flights, as the company does not have its own fleet of aircraft or crew yet. The flights are carried out in cooperation with airlines such as BMI, Trade Air, NextJet and Carpatair that provide the fleet and the crews, and Adria Airways that provides the flight operator’s certificate, commercial platform and ticketing system.

Source: Baltic News Service

Read also from ERR: Nordic Aviation Group takes over Estonian Air routes

Foreign visitors spent 400 mEUR in Estonia in 3Q

A record number of visitors from abroad came to Estonia in the third quarter, with 2.1 million visits, which is 4% more than in the third quarter of last year. There were one third more visitors from Asian countries and they accounted for 6% of all visitors, their largest share ever registered. There were slightly fewer visitors from Finland than a year earlier and they accounted for one third of the total, which is the smallest share in recent years. The number of Russian residents visiting Estonia also continued to decline, and there were 14% fewer such visits in the third quarter of this year than in the same quarter of last year. At the same time there were increased numbers of visitors from Germany, Spain, Latvia and the USA.

In all, 43% of the visitors to Estonia stayed for more than one day, and their average stay was five days. It is estimated that multi-day visitors spent a total of 250 million euros, and single-day visitors spent 150 million euros.

Estonian residents made 1.1 million visits to foreign countries in the quarter, which was 1% more than a year earlier1. Three quarters of those visits were made to the European Union. People from Estonia travelled more to holiday destinations like Greece, Turkey, Italy and Croatia, but the numbers going to Portugal fell by 38%, to Hungary by 25%, and to Finland by 11%. There were 3% more multi-day visits, but their average length remained constant at 4.6 days. Single-day visits accounted for 27% of the total, and there were 2% fewer such visits than in the third quarter of last year. Visitors from Estonia to foreign countries spent an estimated 185 million euros.

1 The number of trips abroad and the number of visits to foreign countries are not the same, as one trip abroad may include visits to several different countries.

 

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Tarass Snitsarenko, Analyst of Statistics Department

EC: government aid to Estonian Air was illegal

The Estonian national airline will fold following a decision by the European Commission that funding given to the company by the Estonian government was not in line with EU regulations. The company, founded in 1991, does not have the funds to pay back the state and will declare bankruptcy.

The Commission began an investigation into Estonian state aid to the company in 2013, with Estonian authorities waiting for a decision ever since.

Today, on November 7, the Commission ruled that the around 90 million euros given by the Estonian government to the company, gave the company an competitive advantage over others. This means the government must demand the full amount, plus interest, back from Estonian Air. The state had also earmarked a further 40 million euros, which would have been given to Estonian Air in case of a positive decision. That money will now go to the Nordic Aviation Group.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Companies should compete based on a sustainable business model rather than relying on continued support by the State to stay in the market. Estonian Air has repeatedly received public subsidies over the past five years but did not carry out the necessary restructuring to become viable as a business. It would not be a good use of taxpayer money to keep Estonian Air in the market artificially – nor would it be fair to competitors, which have to compete without such support.”

The crunch question for the Commission was whether a private investor would have acted the same was as the Estonian state, pouring in as much money on the same conditions – if the state aid corresponded with market conditions.

The Commission ruled that Estonian Air received support three times, although EU regulations allow state aid to be given only once a decade. The Commission also ruled that the company did not have a credible restructuring plan and that measures aimed at limiting the distortions of competition were not sufficient.

The end

The government has set up two companies, which will begin to take over from Estonian Air. One (Nordic Aviation Group) will manage Estonian Air’s routes, while the other (Transpordi Varahaldus) will take on lease contracts.

Economy Minister Kristen Michal said on Friday that if a negative decision is made, then the Estonian Air fleet will be grounded from Sunday.

He said those at their destinations will be flown back home and those with tickets for future flights, will receive compensation. Those with an Estonian Air ticket have been asked to go to www.estonianair.ee or call +372 605 8888 for more information.

The board of Estonian Air today decided to halt all business activity from Sunday, November 8.

The company serviced around 500,000 people annually in the last few years, giving employment to 200 people.

History

It is a sad ending for a company, which became a symbol for newly re-independent Estonia at the beginning of the 1990s.

The company was founded during turbulent times but helped Estonia establish connections with the West. In 1995, the company purchased two brand new Boeing aircraft, giving a boost to a nation trying to rebuild from over 50 years of occupation.

Between 1996 to 2010 the state relinquished controlling shares in the company, and only purchased the company back in 2010 to ensure it did not go bankrupt.

Since 2009, the government has handed around 135 million euros into the company in capital injections, state aid and restructuring aid. The last time the company earned a profit was in 2005.

In 2012, losses amounted to over 50 million euros, from a turnover of less than 100 million. Until then, and after, losses were far smaller. The reasons for 2012 losses were in the company’s drive to expand. In 2011 the state hired Tero Taskila, a Finnish expert who came with a much criticized 30,000 euros per month salary, to take the company to another level. Yet, the plans to expand the company failed. Estonian Air was also hit by higher fuel prices, troubles with aircraft and salary increases.

In 2013, the company embarked on a large-scale restructuring path, cutting its fleet and the number of destinations. Staff numbers were halved.

Source: ERR

EU needs common travel warning system

The European Union needs a unified travel warning system as the warnings issued by individual member states are uneven and leave to be desired, member of the European Parliament for Estonia Urmas Paet says.

Paet turned to the European Commission drawing attention to the uneven character of travel warnings and risk assessments of EU countries and proposing a single EU-wide system.

Recent attacks against European tourists in Tunisia revealed the uneven character and shortcomings of the current travel warning systems, the Estonian MEP said. “All EU member states issue public travel warnings and risk assessments for travellers, but different countries have different systems and the overall picture is uneven,” he said.

Paet also said some tour operators do not take warnings seriously and continue to arrange package tours to countries and areas deemed unsafe. He therefore asked the Commission about the possibility of introducing a common travel warning system and whether observing travel warnings could be made mandatory for operators of package tours.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

There were 10 pct fewer visits to Estonia in 1st Q

There were 10% fewer visits to Estonia by non-residents in the first quarter than in the first quarter of 2014. The biggest change was in the number of tourists coming from Russia to Estonia, which was 140,000 lower than a year before. There was also a fall in the number of visits from Finland, but the numbers coming from Germany, the USA and China increased.

There were 3% fewer visits by Estonian residents to foreign countries than in the same quarter of the previous year. The number of multi-day trips was the same, but there were one tenth fewer single-day trips. The main reason for both falls was that there were 20,000 fewer visits to Finland than a year ago. There were also slightly fewer trips to other neighbouring countries than in the first quarter of last year.

Source: Bank of Estonia

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