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Ceturtdiena 22.02.2018 | Name days: Rigonda, Adrians, Ārija
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Multi-million case between airBaltic and Riga airport quietly heads over to Rezekne Court

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAfter four years and no significant progress in airBaltic’s multi-million plea against Riga International airport in the so-called Ryanair discounts case, all documents related to this case were quietly handed over from Riga Regional Court to Latgale Regional Court in Rezekne, where it will be reviewed by a lesser-known judge Valentina Lokhova.

This is not the only oddity in this particular case.

According to information from Pietiek portal, Latgale Regional Court received the counter-claim of Riga International airport on Monday, April 7th. In this counter-plea, the airport wants to collects more than EUR 16 million of debt owed by the airline for the services provided by the airport. This decision by the airport contradicts Transport Ministry’s current political position – not to collect fees from the state owned airBaltic airline.

According to Pietiek’s sources, this kind of turn of events in the court process between the two state companies is linked to the expected peaceful resolution them. The court process that has unexpectedly caught second wind and the expected peaceful outcome may serve as legal justification for another several million euro to be pumped into airBaltic.

Even though there have been some speculations in the public about large amounts of money, according to the portal, airBaltic wants more than EUR 14 million as compensation for abuse of dominant position and setting discriminating and high prices for airBaltic in comparison with Ryanair. In reality, however, this amount may end up being even higher, because airBaltic’s lawyers had submitted a new redaction to their initial plea to Riga Regional Court last August. In it, they reserved the right to increase the requested compensation amount according to latest calculations of losses.

The financial state of Riga International airport is far from great as well. It is likely that in the event of a peaceful resolution of this case, Transport Ministry will have to search for money elsewhere – the government is one likely source of funding. Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss associate Olita Augustovska was recently appointed to the Board of Riga Airport. She is responsible for finances. It is publicly said that the Board of the airport is independent in its decisions. Political recommendations, on the other hand, are given to the Board verbally and in a general sense.

Sources in Transport Ministry point to one particular coincidence: prior to making this important decision, both Augustovska and Chairman of the airport Aldis Murnieks were seen attending a meeting with Matiss. Murnieks and Augustovska were seen in Transport Ministry last Friday, when the decision was made to transfer the court process between airBaltic and Riga airport to Latgale’s Regional Court.

The first suspicions about a possible scheme in play were raised by information about the transfer of this case to a court in Rezekne. This decision was made by the newly-appointed Chairwoman of Riga Regional Court – Daiga Vilsone.

Latgale Regional Court in Rezekne has received the counter-claim from Riga airport. However, the date of the court hearing on this case has yet to be set.

Ref: 102.109.109.4892


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