AirBaltic airline made the exit flight of its latest Boeing 737 on Thursday, and now operates only Airbus A220s.
The 737-300 registered YL-BBX of the Latvian company flew on December 17, 2020 from its base in Riga to Ostrava airport, to join its new owner Magnetic MRO who had bought three earlier this year. . AirBaltic is now and as expected an all-Airbus company, only four of the 25 A220-300 delivered remaining grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic according to Planespotters. CEO Martin Gauss recalls in a press release that since May 2020, airBaltic « operates all its flights with a single type of aircraft – the Airbus A220-300, thus minimizing complexity and benefiting from the additional efficiency provided by the aircraft « .
The manager certified on A220, however, underlines that the Boeing 737s “have been an integral part of the airBaltic fleet for 17 years. They accompanied our breakthrough, helping us to establish ourselves as a strong regional carrier ”. AirBaltic operated its first 737 in 2003; over the years, « 20 different Boeing 737s in total » have carried over 22 million passengers, and flown more than 280,000 flights across Europe and beyond.
The 737 offered airBaltic « a significantly longer range, increased seat capacity and faster flight speed », explains the airline, its new features allowing it to extend the network « and reach new destinations. like Tel Aviv, Lisbon or Baku ”.
After nearly two decades of operations in our fleet, we are saying goodbye to Boeing 737 aircraft. We thank the Boeing fleet for the journey full of incredible milestones and 17 outstanding years of connecting passengers all across @airBaltic network. pic.twitter.com/a6kDeouDBd
— airBaltic (@airBaltic) December 17, 2020
After accelerating the delivery of the new aircraft to switch to an all-Airbus fleet (the last two A220-300s with 145 seats were delivered at the same time this week), the Latvian company announced last August that the next 25 would not will all be delivered by early 2024. An agreement has been reached with Airbus on a revision of the delivery schedule, and the conversion of options for an additional 30 units is not expected to be decided before the end of next year.
An early holiday present for @airBaltic! 🎁 We have welcomed our 24th and 25th @Airbus A220-300 aircraft, registered as YL-AAX and YL-AAY. These two jets complete the planned new aircraft deliveries for airBaltic in 2020. pic.twitter.com/Wy41yc4GJm
— airBaltic (@airBaltic) December 13, 2020
On the network side, the airline which returned to Paris-CDG in early June has scheduled more than 2,500 flights on 45 routes in December 2020 and January 2021, its three most popular destinations being Oslo, London, and Amsterdam. Its data suggests that the demand for holiday flights has « as other years increased dramatically. » The total number of passengers carried will remain lower than during the same period last winter because, « due to travel restrictions » linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, « the overall demand for leisure travel is very low and most passengers today travel for work or to visit family ”.
CEO Martin Gauss concludes: “The safety and health of our employees and passengers has been and will remain above all else. We adapt to the situation and offer our customers, who need to travel, a safe and reliable service. We are here to ensure basic connectivity between the Baltic States and the world also this winter ”.