After Latvia won its first-ever medal at the Ice Hockey World Championships organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), airBaltic celebrated the occasion with a low fly-past in the city center of Riga, Latvia.
After beating the United States, the Latvian national ice hockey team won the bronze medal at the annual Ice Hockey World Championships tournament, following its upset of Sweden in the quarter-finals.
The flag carrier of Latvia was carrying back the country’s men’s national ice hockey team from the tournament’s third-place match held in Tampere, Finland, with an aptly liveried Airbus A220. Dabbed in the colors of the Latvian flag, the aircraft made a low fly past above the city center of Riga, Latvia.
The aircraft, registered as YL-CSL, went as low as 800 feet (243.8 meters) of calibrated altitude while flying above the Latvian capital’s old town and center districts, before landing at Riga Airport (RIX) at 12:25 PM local time (UTC +3) on May 29, 2023, according to flightradar24.com data.
It departed Tampere Pirkkala Airport (TMP) at 11:32 AM local time (UTC +3). Upon arrival at RIX, the firefighter services met the airBaltic Airbus A220 with a water cannon salute, a tradition reserved for special occasions.
This was the first time that the Latvian men’s national ice hockey team won a medal in an international tournament, surpassing its previous best-finish of seventh place at the 1997, 2004, and 2009 World Championships.
In March 2023, airBaltic unveiled its second Airbus A220 painted in a special livery themed around the colors of the Latvian flag. The airline received that aircraft, registered as YL-ABN, on April 15, 2023. The first aircraft in airBaltic’s fleet with the Latvian flag was YL-CSL.
Airbus delivered YL-CSL in October 2018, with the aircraft being repainted in the special Latvia 100 colors, celebrating Latvia’s 100th independence anniversary, in November 2018. In December 2021, it was repainted in the regular red-white-red of the Latvian flag, according to planespotters.net data.