Government to invest 30 mn euros in Estonian Air

The Estonian government said Thursday it would inject 30 million euros ($41 million) into state-owned Estonian Air to renew its fleet in a drive to bolster business. In a statement, the Baltic state's centre-right government said it would invest 15 million euros before the end of this year and the same sum in 2012. Estonian Air plans to buy five new Bombardier CRJ jets to replace its current Boeings, taking its fleet to 10 from the current eight. In October, Estonian Air carried a total of 65,230 passengers, or 32 percent more than in the same period last year. The government said that if Estonian Air's shake-up helps boost numbers in the future, extra tourism revenues could hit 60 million euros a year. That could bring an extra 2,000 jobs in the nation of 1.3 million, 800 of them directly in the tourist industry, and provide foreign investors with easier access to Estonia, it said. The government has held a 90-percent stake in Estonian Air since June 2010, when it struck a deal with Scandinavian carrier SAS, which now holds 10 percent. The deal capped six months of talks with SAS, which previously held a 49-percent stake, on bolstering the government's role in the airline. The government has said that despite acquiring a majority holding, it does not plan to remain the main owner and aims to seek a new strategic investor in the long term. by Laurent Thomet (c) 2011 AFP
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Source: AFP
Date: Nov 3, 2011