The Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) sent the bill that allows Estonia and the United Arab Emirates to ratify an air transport agreement between the two countries to the first reading.
Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Sven Sester said that establishing a flight connection with Dubai was one of the priorities of Tallinn Airport. “The Airport has estimated that up to 30,000 passengers would use the Tallinn-Dubai line annually,” Sester added.
Sester said that according to the international convention, regular air services to third countries could be opened only with the special permission of the particular country. “Therefore we are very interested in the passage of the bill, because up to now, there is no legal basis for bilateral regular air traffic between Estonia and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
In the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, the planned air service would be of use to Estonia also when participating in the world fair EXPO held in Dubai next year. “Participation in the world fair is a good example of how the new air service could be useful for Estonia. Our people can get to the fair without inconvenient transfers, and the visitors of the exhibition can come to explore us, or use Estonia as an intermediate stop on a longer journey. In any case, we will benefit from it, and it will introduce Estonia as a global country with high-quality flight connections,” Sester said.
Member of the Economic Affairs Committee Annely Akkermann said that the air service between Tallinn and Dubai would not end with the United Arab Emirates. “This route is a key to opening of the whole Middle East. Our people have always been travelling to South East Asia, Oceania and Africa when necessary, but all this will be much more convenient now. It is estimated that there is a considerable number of those who are interested in opening that service. We need that air connection,” Akkermann emphasised.
According to the bill and the existing plans, Flydubai, an airline of the United Arab Emirates, would start to operate the air service between Tallinn and Dubai in winter 2019/2020. The Economic Affairs Committee was told that initially the airline was planning to fly four times a week, using a 180-seat aircraft.
The Committee decided to send the Bill on Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the United Arab Emirates for Air Services between and beyond Their Respective Territories (25 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, to the first reading at the plenary sitting of the Riigikogu on 12 June, and if the first reading is concluded, to the second reading on 11 September.
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