City of Tartu announces Tartu-Helsinki flight procurement
Tartu City Government Press Release
29 September / Today, 29 September, the European Commission published a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union on the imposition of a public service obligation in respect of scheduled air services between Tartu and Helsinki aiports. This will give the City of Tartu the opportunity to organise a procurement to find an air operator to fulfil the public service obligation and provide scheduled flights between Tartu and Helsinki Airport for a period of four years from 1 January 2024.
According to Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas, the preservation of international air services is crucial for the economic and social development of Tartu and the whole of Southern Estonia. ‘The Tartu-Helsinki route will give us the best connectivity with the rest of the world – at the moment, it is possible to fly from Helsinki to more than 80 destinations,’ the Mayor stressed.
According to the terms and conditions of the tender, from 1 January 2024 there will be 12 weekly flights from Tartu to Helsinki and back, including:
- 6 flights leaving Tartu on Monday to Saturday between 5.30 am and 7 am;
- 6 flights leaving Tartu on Monday to Friday and Sundays between 2 pm and 3.45 pm;
- 6 flights leaving Helsinki on Monday to Friday and Sundays between 12.45 am and 2.30 pm;
- 6 flights leaving Helsinki on Monday to Friday and Sundays between 11 pm and 11.59 pm
The aircraft used to operate scheduled flights between the Tartu and Helsinki airports must have a minimum seating capacity of 60.
Air operators have two (2) months to submit bids.
Following the termination of air services, the Tartu City Government has been analysing the possible legal conditions for organising and continuing to support flights from Tartu. It has become clear from consultations with various air operators that no airline is prepared to operate international flights from Tartu today under market conditions. In order to ensure the operation of international air services, it is possible in this type of situation, on the basis of Article 16 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, to impose a public service obligation on the international route most suitable for the city and to subsidise flights from Tartu from the budget of the City of Tartu.
The Tartu City Government commissioned an economic study regarding the direct international connection of Tartu Airport, which led to a proposal to impose a public service obligation on the Tartu-Helsinki route.
Tartu Airport was reconstructed in 2008, with the airport’s infrastructure being fully capable of servicing regular passenger flights. Since the reconstruction of the airport, a number of direct routes have operated from Tartu and the possibility of flying from Tartu has attracted the interest of a number of air operators; however, the provision of such a service has not been profitable. After more than a decade of uninterrupted service, Finnair, the last operator, cancelled all flights in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. Finnair resumed the provision of service at the end of March 2022, but once again discontinued service after seven months, in October 2022.
Additional information: Urmas Klaas, Mayor of Tartu, 513-5145, [email protected]
Last changed 24.11.2023