Frustrated Estonian scraps Air Lituanica pact

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Estonian Air has axed a commercial tie-up with Lithuanian start-up Air Lituanica after accusing the airline of failing to meet payments.

The two Baltic operators had a flight-services and commercial pact centred on two Vilnius routes – to Amsterdam and Berlin – for which Estonian was providing flights with an Embraer 170.

While the pact was due to run until the end of 2015, Estonian Air chief Jan Palmer claims that Air Lituanica has “repeatedly” been unable to meet payment obligations.

Air Lituanica could not be reached to comment on the claim.

Palmer says Estonian Air has been “forced to terminate” its contracts with the Lithuanian carrier after talks and settlement proposals proved unsuccessful. The decision is effective immediately.

Estonian will continue to offer Vilnius-Amsterdam flights but is yet to decide how to service its Vilnius-Berlin route. The airline had also been providing sales and distribution services to Air Lituanica, which only started operations at the end of June.

Palmer says the decision to scrap the partnership has been difficult but necessary.

“Estonian Air has no authority to continue to support Air Lituanica beyond our contractual terms,” he says. “Our primary task is to serve our customers and therefore we will do everything to fulfil our obligations to them.”

Air Lituanica began serving Amsterdam and Berlin within six weeks of initiating its first route, to Brussels. The airline also serves Prague and Munich. As well as the Estonian jet its fleet includes a leased Embraer 175.