Prime Minister Jüri Ratas replied to the interpellation concerning connection with islands (No. 1), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet, Heiki Kranich, Vilja Toomast, Urmas Kruuse, Hele Everaus, Madis Milling, Heidy Purga, Yoko Alender, Andres Sutt, Taavi Rõivas, Hanno Pevkur, Kaja Kallas, Toomas Kivimägi, Urve Tiidus, Jüri Jaanson, Signe Kivi, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, Ants Laaneots, Andrus Seeme, Johannes Kert and Annely Akkermann on 13 May.
The interpellators referred to the fact that the residents of Saaremaa had already some time ago informed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of their wish to have more flights on Tallinn–Kuressaare route, and with a bigger aircraft, because the 19-seat aircraft was too small to seat all who wanted to travel, and thus the ferry remained the only means of transport to the mainland. Ferry is more time-consuming compared to flight. The interpellators wished to know how and with what activities the Prime Minister was going to fulfil the promise that a good air service with a larger aircraft would begin to operate between large islands.
Ratas explained that 5.53 million euro had been planned for air services in 2019, including the air services to the island of Ruhnu. For the next periods, 5.73 million euro pear year have been planned for flight connections with islands in the national budget strategy, and this must ensure that the flight connection between Saaremaa and the mainland improves when a larger aircraft is put into service on the Kuressaare route. As an amendment to the Public Transport Act entered into force on 1 January 2018, the tasks of the public service contracts in air traffic were transferred from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to the Road Administration.
Ratas noted that the challenging of the public procurement influenced the organisation of air traffic. The decision of the Road Administration to refuse to qualify “Regional Jet OÜ” had been in conflict with the requirements of the Public Procurement Act with regard to Tallinn–Kuressaare–Tallinn, and had been repealed. In order to prevent suspension of the route licence from 1 June this year, the Road Administration considered the hierarchical measures provided for in the Public Transport Act to prevent the risk of disruption of the service, and made a proposal to extend the contract to the current carrier on Tallinn–Kuressaare–Tallinn route. It is very important that this connection would not be disrupted. By agreement, the contract was extended until a new carrier is found, but not for longer than two years. That ensured uninterrupted provision of service on the air routes.
Ratas emphasised that it was important to make every effort to ensure that we would have a better air service as well as a better ferry connection by the high season of the following year. “We must find a solution, the best solution to the residents of Saaremaa and people living on the islands of Abruka, Vilsandi, Muhu and Kesselaid, so that people would be able to fly from Kuressaare to Tallinn if they wish. Two flights on Kuressaare–Tallinn route from Monday to Friday, and two flights on Tallinn–Kuressaare route; on Saturday and Sunday, too, but then there is one flight,” the Prime Minister explained.
The Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps replied to the interpellation concerning the availability of translation of Estonian Sign Language (No. 2).
At today’s sitting, member of the Riigikogu Marko Šorin took his oath of office.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!