Jan Palmer headed Denmark’s now-bankrupt Cimber Sterling
Estonian Air’s supervisory board has dismissed Tero Taskila as chief executive, appointing instead Jan Palmer in the midst of what will probably be the carrier’s worst-ever year. With more than 20 years’ experience in aviation, most recently Palmer headed the now-bankrupt Danish carrier Cimber Sterling.
At a press conference, Palmer said: “Estonia has a problem, but a lot of other airlines are also having problems in this environment today. It’s a very tough business. The situation in Estonia is not so different from some of the companies that I’ve been working for. I always believe it’s possible to solve it. I have been doing this kind of turnaround in companies for many years because part of the business in aviation is that it goes up and down all the time. I honestly believe it is possible to get it down to at least a break even situation.
Asked to specify the biggest mistake made by his predecessor, Palmer said: “In broad terms, to try to establish a hub and spoke system, a big network system, when you are very close to Riga, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen – it’s a tough mission because there is not enough food for everybody. And I think that is maybe the biggest problem why it has not materialised as they have tried to build up the system […] You won’t get enough passengers into the system. I think it’s very hard in Tallinn to do that.”
Estonian Air sacked Taskila, formerly CCO at the similarly troubled airBaltic, after reporting a nine-month loss of €20.2 million yesterday. Palmer starts his job today.