DATA SPOTLIGHT: airBaltic

This year The Blue Swan Daily will feature some of the leading airlines, airports and country markets for air travel. Here, using the extensive profile insights available to CAPA – Centre for Aviation members to deliver a data snapshot, we look at airBaltic, which this week resumed scheduled commercial passenger services between the capitals of the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

After a decision from the Government of Latvia to enable international passenger traffic between Baltic states and receiving all of the necessary permissions, airBaltic resumed daily direct flights from Riga to Tallinn and Vilnius on 18-May-2020. It has also resumed direct flights from Tallinn to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and as of 25-May-2020 will add Vilnius to its network from Estonia.

The is the next step of a revised business plan ‘Destination 2025 CLEAN’ which has been backed by an equity increase of up to EUR250 million by the carrier’s majority shareholder the Latvian Government. Initially looking at ‘stay’ it has already worked on efforts to maintain the business to ensure its continuity through the crisis. This next step is about ‘Revise’ and introducing changes to products to reflect three key components – Green, Clean and Easy.

The third pillar, ‘Grow’, will see airBaltic adjust to the demand and grow its offer from all three Baltic capital airports to the business hubs in Europe. Over time it “will also evaluate options to launch new destinations”

The new business plan Destination 2025 CLEAN foresees a reduced fleet for the upcoming years, initially resuming operations with 22 Airbus A220-300. The new plan takes into account the reduced capacity for the years 2020-2022, while at the same time foresees return to growth with up to 50 Airbus A220-300 aircraft after 2023, when airBaltic plans to reach its before crisis level of operations. In 2024 and 2025 it then plans to grow to 80 Airbus A220-300 aircraft and perform an IPO taking the airline to the international stock markets.

ABOUT
airBaltic is the Latvian national carrier (80% state ownership) and a hybrid-LCC. It is the first national flag carrier airline to market itself as an LCC. The carrier is based in the Latvian capital Riga and also operates bases in the other Baltic capitals of Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia). The airline has also moved away from offering mostly point-to-point services in the Baltic region, and now pursues a network strategy, with Riga International the main hub. Until Jan-2009, airBaltic was 47.2% owned by Scandinavian flag SAS, which Air Baltic Corporation purchased. airBaltic maintains close links with SAS, operating frequent services to the latter’s hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm thereby operating a ‘dual hub’ system with Riga. The airline operates scheduled services to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the CIS. Following a share capital increase, the Latvian State holds an 80% in airBaltic, with the remaining stake of approximately 20% owned by Aircraft Leasing 1 SIA (which is owned by Danish entrepreneur Lars Thuesen). airBaltic is the launch customer of the Airbus A220-300. On 07-May-2020, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers approved investment of up to EUR250 million into airBaltic’s equity, to support the company in overcoming the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Latvian state’s shareholding in airBaltic will increase from 80.05% to 91%.

GLOBAL RANKING (as at 18-May-2020)

NETWORK MAP (as at 18-May-2020)

DESTINATIONS (as at 18-May-2020)

ANNUAL PASSENGER TRAFFIC (2010 – 2020YTD)

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT (versus same week last year)

ANNUAL CAPACITY (2012-2020*)(NOTE:The values for this year are at least partly predictive up to 6 months and may be subject to change)

WEEKLY DOMESTIC CAPACITY (2017 – 2020*)

WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL CAPACITY (2017 – 2020*)

CAPACITY SPLIT BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS (w/c 18-May-2020)

LARGEST NETWORK POINT (w/c 18-May-2020)

LARGEST INTERNATIONAL MARKETS BY COUNTRY (w/c 18-May-2020)

BUSIEST INTERNATIONAL ROUTES BY CAPACITY (w/c 18-May-2020)

AVERAGE FLIGHT LENGTH (w/c 18-May-2020)

FLEET SUMMARY (as at 18-May-2020)

AVERAGE FLEET AGE (as at 18-May-2020)

MORE INSIGHT…

Europe only manages a piecemeal approach to airline state aid

European airline capacity: the deepest cuts slow. Now, what next?

airBaltic’s IPO ambition: wise to wait as airline cycle turns

airBaltic to consider new bases in Western Europe after completing expansion in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania