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Air Baltic Airbus a220 Latvian flag

An airBaltic A220 painted with the Latvian flag to celebrate the nation’s centenary. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

airBaltic Defers Airbus A220 Deliveries

Latvian airline airBaltic announced on Thursday that they had agreed with Airbus to take delivery of 28 A220-300s by early 2024.

In mid-April, the airline’s outstanding Airbus A220 orders were postponed to 2023. With the new agreement, airBaltic gained an extra year to implement its fleet plans in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The recent crisis enabled us to push forward our decision to introduce an Airbus A220-300 single type fleet. It allows us to minimize complexity and benefit from the additional efficiency provided by the aircraft. We will continue our growth and add more capacity provided by additional jets in the future as outlined by the Destination 2025 CLEAN business plan,” said Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic.

The Riga-based airline is the launch customer for the model and currently operates a total of 22 A220-300s.  In early 2014, airBaltic will operate a single type fleet with 50 A220-300 aircraft. The airline also holds options for an additional 30 aircraft of the same type.  With the delivery of three more aircraft, airBaltic is slated to operate 25 of this model by the end of 2020.

Air Baltic Airbus A220-300

The Estonian flag featured on AirBaltic’s Airbus A220-300. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

airBaltic to Operate All A220-300 Fleet

This year, airBaltic prematurely phased out its Boeing 737-300 fleet and twelve Bombardier Q400 turboprops three years earlier than planned retirement schedule in a bid to operate all A220-300 fleet.

“We are the only airline in the world that operates the A220 exclusively.  At the same time, this gives us the youngest fleet in the world with an average age of just 1.9 years. And the aircraft’s price will fall even further because we are getting more planes,” Gauss said in an exclusive interview with aero.de in Riga.

The airline showed its confidence in the aircraft by stating that the 145-seat airliner performed beyond the company’s expectations in terms of fuel efficiency and convenience for passengers and the staff.

“This aircraft offers an excellent flying experience with such benefits for passengers as wider seats, larger windows, more hand luggage space in the cabin, improved lavatories and much more,” said the airline in a press release.

In the current climate when the travel demand collapsed, airBaltic believes that it is in a strong position as the model can be operated both on long haul and short-haul routes.

airBaltic suspended operations on March 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak and resumed flights on May 18. In July, the airline carried 251% more passengers than the previous month from the three Baltic capitals —Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia and Vilnius, Lithuania — to various European hubs and popular leisure destinations.

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