The EANS, which recently published its Report to shareholders 2021 (link in Estonian), indicates that pre-pandemic performance levels are likely only in 2027, although 2021 losses were lower than originally forecast, while the closure of air routes over Ukraine and other effects of the war there will have their impact before.
Turnover increased by 20.9%, to reach 17.1 million euros in 2021, according to the EANS. The last pre-pandemic year, 2019, saw the company’s turnover amount to 28.2 million euros.
The increase between 2020 and 2021 was mainly the result of a partial recovery from the pandemic; much of 2020 had seen grounded flights.
EANS spokeswoman Hanna Niitmets told ERR: “Due to the spread of Covid-19, the volume of flights served in Estonia in 2020 fell by 56.2% year-on-year.”
April 2020 was the nadir – volumes of flights served fell 80% year-on-year to 4,130 for the month, Niitmets said.
The figure for the full year was 103,488, down from 236,087 in 2019 and 116,075 in 2021.
Of these, 84,425 were overflights going from one country to another via Estonian airspace, 21,308 were international arrivals and departures and 9,972 were domestic domestic flights, for example between Tallinn and Saaremaa.
CEO: Pre-pandemic levels unlikely to be reached until 2027
EANS CEO Ivar Värk noted in the preface to the annual report that: “The continuation of the pandemic has brought us to a point where the initial forecasts of traffic recovery had already been postponed several times.
“While last fall we ventured to hope that traffic could return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, today we have to admit that this will more likely happen in 2027,” Vark added.
The reported final losses of 3.45 million euros were nevertheless almost 50% of the 6.26 million euros forecast for 2021 in last year’s report.
This was primarily the result of cost-cutting measures, Värk said, which at the same time did not compromise safety or operational results.
The war in Ukraine has led to a 20% drop in flights so far
Re-routing flights around Ukraine additionally costs €12,000 per day, according to the company, due to a significant drop in air traffic to or from Asia and the Pacific.
The daily flights served by EANS are now 325, since the measures put in place on February 27, a decrease of 21%.
The reorganization resulting from the Covid crisis resulted in the layoff of around 50 employees, Värk noted.
EANS is a public limited company that provides digital air navigation services, as well as air traffic management for manned and unmanned air vehicles, the company says on its website.