Estonian Air Enters Cooperation with Växjö Småland Airport

Baltic carrier Estonian Air has signed a commercial agreement with Växjö Småland Airport in Sweden to operate flights between Växjö and Amsterdam from May 2014.  The airline will operate eight flights per week on the route from May 4, 2014 using a 76-seat Embraer 170 and has committed to fly the link for a one year period.

Växjö, a green vibrant city, is the administrative, cultural and industrial centre of Kronoberg County in southern Sweden.  The city reportedly takes its name from the words ‘väg’ (road) and ‘sjö’ (lake), to mark the regular journeys local farmers used to take across the frozen Lake to get to the marketplace.

It is probably best known for its 1996 policy to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2030. This decision was taken in reaction to pollution and eutrophication in the lakes that surround the town and greenhouse gas emissions have already been cut by more than 45 per cent since 1993 and will be reduced to around 55 per cent by 2015.

With a home population of just 80,000 people, Växjö will hope the new service brings inbound traffic into the city but will also provide an important hub connection that will enable outbound passengers to connect to more than 300 destinations through the network of KLM at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.  It is understood that the route will be operated through a marketing arrangement with the Dutch flag carrier.

“We have toiled to get a direct connection to a European hub and it feels absolutely amazing to have this link to one of the world’s largest airports,” said Ulf Axelsson, chief executive officer, Växjö Småland Airport.  “If we only get one third of the potential we have seen then the route will be a success for all involved.”

Amsterdam will be the only major international city destination outside of Scandinavia to be served on a scheduled basis from Växjö Småland Airport.  The small facility is currently linked to Oslo and Stockholm by FlySmaland and Nextjet while Ryanair has seasonal flights to Alicante and a link to Dusseldorf Weeze, which closes next month.  A number of seasonal charters are also offered to summer sun destinations by tour operators Apollo, Besök Ving and Fritidsresor.se.

This agreement is part of Estonian Air’s ongoing business realignment to return to profitability and has been made possible by its excess aircraft capacity.  It currently has a fleet of four Embraer 170s and three Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft but only requires five units to meet its schedule of flights to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Oslo, Moscow, Munich, St Petersburg, Kiev, Vilnius and Trondheim.

“The agreement gives Estonian Air a very good possibility to utilise one of its two surplus aircraft capacity with low risk, and it is of course convenient to operate to Amsterdam since we do operate the same destination from Tallinn,” said Jan Palmér, chief executive officer, Estonian Air.

The Estonian flag carrier had previously wet-leased one of its E170s to Lithuanian carrier Air Lituanica but this was recently returned after a disagreement with the airline.  It also currently has one aircraft based at Birmingham Airport in the UK for charter and other traffic contracts on the European market in cooperation with broker Air Charter Services.