Santa Claus has paid an earlier-than-normal delivery to airBaltic with the delivery of the carrier’s 46th Airbus A220-300 twinjet. The arrival of the aircraft which is registered YL-ABT marks the seventh delivery of a factory-fresh A220-300 to the carrier in 2023.
The latest addition to the airBaltic fleet joins 45 others and is part of the airline’s existing order for 50 of the type to be delivered by 2024. Additionally, the airline ordered a further 30 of the type at the Dubai Airshow 2023 with options for 20 more. The carrier is now the world’s largest user of the A220 family.
Since the delivery of its first A220 (YL-AAO) in March 2019, the airline has used its growing fleet of A220-300s to carry over 13 million passengers. It has completed 150,000 flights and has accumulated 328,000 block hours with the type.
Since May 2020, airBaltic has only flown the A220 in its fleet, having phased out older aircraft such as the Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 plus turboprop types such as the De Havilland Canada DHC-8 and the Fokker 50.
According to the airline, the A220 “has surpassed expectations, offering enhanced performance, fuel efficiency, and passenger comfort with wider seats, larger windows, increased cabin storage, improved lavatories, and reduced noise levels by half compared to previous models.
“Notably, it’s touted as the world’s most efficient commercial aircraft, significantly reducing CO2 and NOX emissions by 25% and 50%, respectively, compared to older aircraft and industry standards.”
Air Baltic has been busy in 2023. In addition to the order for additional aircraft mentioned above, the carrier has announced the opening of a new base in Gran Canaria for the winter of 2023/24, the start of an extensive codeshare agreement with Delta Air Lines, and although the airline has been affected by Pratt & Whiney engine issues, has declared that the issue is easing and that its inspections are nearing an end.
In November 2023, the Latvian flag carrier achieved its highest-ever nine-month revenue between January and September 2023, with passenger numbers also increasing.
The nine-month figure totaled €510.6 million ($554.2 million) for the January-September 2023 period. This represented a 41% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
This was helped by a strong third quarter, with the airline’s Q3 revenue rising by 28% to €219.3 million ($238 million).