The Latvian Government sponsored airline airBaltic has confirmed that it will further reduce its capacity over the coming months due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis significantly affecting demand for air travel.

The Riga based carrier said it would be cancelling around 50% of its flights between April 15 and October 31, 2020, due to a lack of demand and many different countries maintaining travel bans and entry restrictions. Currently the airline is in the process of adjusting its route network and flight schedules as well as reducing its fleet size.

Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic said: “Considering the significant impact on the demand, we currently plan to restart our operations gradually. When we will be able to, we will start with a reduced number of aircraft who will serve daily flights to our top routes. With each upcoming week, more aircraft will return to service, offering more flights.”

In addition, airBaltic has made a decision to delay launch of the new routes it had planned for summer season of 2020 from all three Baltic states as well as temporarily discontinue a number of additional routes.

The airline recently used one of its Airbus A220 aircraft on a cargo mission to bring back facemasks and medical equipment from China. The special flight was on A220-300, registration YL-CSI which departed from Riga at 08:11 on March 28th, 2020 at 08:11, landing at Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport at 19:57, local time. The return flight got back to the carriers home base of Riga a little after midnight. The 4 815 km flight took 5 hours and 46 minutes there and 6 hours and 35 minutes back with a full load comprising of 619 boxes, 5.1 tonnes or 47 cubic meters of approximately 900 000 face masks and 80 000 respirators.

The mammoth task was only possible with the close cooperation with the National Health Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, AirLink Aviation Services and Wish Global.