Estonia’s Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture will sign a contract with NyxAir (OJ, Tallinn Lennart Meri) on February 15 for the carrier to operate the Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes between Tallinn Lennart Meri and both Kärdla on the island of Hiiumaa and Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa until autumn 2027, the Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported.

This follows the termination of litigation last year over the tender for the Kärdla route, when a Public Procurement Review Committee upheld a decision declaring NyxAir the winner. The new contract for Kuressaare, which NyxAir already flies to, will come into force on June 1, 2024, while the agreement for the Kärdla route comes into effect on February 29.

Diamond Sky (DMS, Tallinn Lennart Meri) currently operates the route with a Saab 340A, SP-KPG (msn 340A-151), that it wet-leases from Poland’s SprintAir (P8, Warsaw Chopin), ADS-B data shows. It had earlier disputed the results.

“This procurement, which went ahead and is to come into force with regard to Kuressaare from June 1, will use the previously planned 48-seater aircraft,” NyxAir CEO Jaanus Ojamets told ERR. “A 33-seater aircraft will operate the Kärdla route, starting from March 1.”

NyxAir currently operates a fleet of one Saab 340A, three Saab 340Bs, four Saab 2000s, two Saab 340A(F)s, two ATR42-500s, and one ATR72-500(F), ch-aviation fleets data shows.

There have been complaints from frequent flyers that the capacity currently on offer on the busier Kuressaare route is often insufficient, Andres Ruubas, head of public transport at the Ministry of Regional Affairs, told the broadcaster, and “there has been some talk about a larger plane.”

However, “the problem is that demand is higher in the summer,” he added. “In winter, demand is not that great. At the moment, 48 is the optimal figure, so we do not see any changes happening there in the immediate future.”

NyxAir did not respond to ch-aviation’s request for comment and Diamond Sky declined to comment.