Estonian national carrier Nordica is to add two Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets to its fleet. The Tallinn-based airline currently operates a fleet of six CRJ900s and two CRJ700s.

The Baltic nation’s state-owned Transpordi Varahaldus (TVH) transport sector investment and holding company will issue €25 million ($26.8 million) worth of bonds with a maturity period of eight years to buy the aircraft and lease them to Nordica. The bonds will be bought equally by two Estonian entities, LHV pension funds and LHV Bank.

“We are convinced that Nordica … is being reasonably built up,” said the head of LHV pension funds Andres Viisemann. “Any major steps are taken only if there is reasonable reassurance that it is economically beneficial and improves the position of Nordica and Estonian aviation alike.

“The pension funds would certainly like to be involved in more transactions like this. We earn income for the clients of our pension funds, but do it in a manner that also benefits Estonian society.”

Nordica is expanding both its own operations and those in support of strategic partner LOT Polish Airlines.

Nordica and LOT began a cooperation in November 2016 that includes a joint commercial platform and ticket sales system, as well as a codeshare arrangement.

One of the new aircraft will operate on Nordica’s own route network, while the other will start serving passengers on LOT services, Nordica CFO Ahto Pärl said.

Pärl added that one of the new aircraft would replace a smaller CRJ700, with the smaller aircraft stationed in Tallinn as a spare. “Nordica’s fleet and volume of flights have increased to the limit where having its own spare aircraft is economically reasonable. This will improve the quality and stability of our service even further, and help us save money," he said.

“The level of trust in Estonian aviation has reached a new level today,” Pärl added. “We have believed from the very beginning that we’re moving in the right direction and this transaction proves that our strategy is working.”

The first aircraft will arrive in Tallinn in June and the second in July. Both will start operating in early August. The two new aircraft are 2011 models and are similar to the models Nordica already owns.

Alan Dron