Nordica (ND, Tallinn Lennart Meri) is eyeing up to ten new ACMI customers during Winter 2018/19 season and, as a result of these new cooperations, could open up to three new bases across the European Union, CEO Jaan Tamm has told Forbes.

Tamm has named Finnair as one of the interesting prospective customers, although it is not clear whether any negotiations are currently ongoing. The Finnish flag carrier currently seeks an investor for its regional unit, NoRRA Nordic Regional Airlines, while Nordica itself has no interest in equity partnerships. Other than that, the CEO has not disclosed any more details regarding the customers or the location of future bases.

The Estonian virtual carrier's subsidiary and Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) holder Regional Jet, successor to the bankrupt Estonian Air, currently operates a number of different ACMI contracts. Nordica's only scheduled service operating under its own flight number is its 7x weekly Tallinn Lennart Meri-St. Petersburg flight.

However, Nordica also operates a host of other European services out of Tallinn under LOT Polish Airlines LO code. The St. Petersburg service is offered under Regional Jet's code solely due to the conditions of the bilateral air traffic agreement with Russia. The carrier also operates routes out of Warsaw Chopin to each of Stockholm Arlanda, Gothenburg Landvetter, Hamburg Helmut Schmidt, Odesa, Tallinn, and Vilnius on behalf of the Polish flag carrier, which owns a 49% stake in Regional Jet and provides the reservation system and ticketing services for Nordica. In total, five of Regional Jet's CRJ900ERs operate on behalf of LOT.

In addition, Regional Jet also deploys five ATR 72-600s out of Copenhagen Kastrup under a long-term wet-lease contract with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, covering mostly domestic services in Denmark. Finally, the carrier also operates routes of Groningen in the Netherlands to each of Copenhagen Kastrup and Munich under a contract with the local authority, as well as out of Örebro to Copenhagen also under a contract with the local authority.

"We consult them and we give our opinion but they decide which kind of service they want," Tamm has said of these contracts. He has added that future contracts will also likely include similar agreements with local authorities or institutional customers.

"If we can’t get customers here then we go to the customers, mainly these customers are not individual people but institutions who need some flying services," Tamm has added.

Besides Nordica and Regional Jet, the Estonian group also includes Transpordi Varahaldus, a lessor financed by privately-owned banks which owns six of the carrier's CRJ-900ERs. The entities are managed independently to prevent accusations of illegal state aid under the EU rules.