The flag carrier of Latvia and the de facto carrier of the Baltic states, announced a significant expansion of its flight schedules in the summer months, as airBaltic aims to stimulate the demand to popular holiday destinations around Europe from the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Chief executive of airBaltic Martin Gauss stated that many countries in the continent “will again open their borders for tourists,” as people are once again planning their holidays or “just a short break after a long time of not being able to travel.”

The announced summer destinations are being opened “earlier than planned,” added Gauss. Despite its plans, the regulatory environment is constantly changing, thus passengers are advised to “check the travel regulations and airport restrictions” before starting their journey.

Starting a gradual ramp-up of its network on June 15, the airline will welcome new dots on its route map until July 7, 2020. In total, 13 routes will be established between the timeframe. Passengers from Riga Airport (RIX) will be able to travel to nine European cities, while travelers from Tallinn and Vilnius will be able to travel to one and three new destinations, respectively.

airBaltic met the coronacrisis head on and in April 2020, approved its new plan to accelerate the retirement of the Boeing 737 and De Havilland Canada DHC Dash-8 Q400 to become the world’s first Airbus A220-only operator. Additional liquidity was raised by pleading the Latvian government for an investment up to $283 million (€250 million). In return, the state would take an 11% stake in the airline, totaling its share package to 91%. The Riga-based airline ended 2019 in a $10.3 million (€9.1 million) net loss and with $140 million (€123.8 million) of cash in hand.

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While Europe is famous for its mega-hubs, including such airports as Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt and Heathrow, they are facing a problem of overcapacity. And with new players in the industry popping up and seeking connectivity to big European cities, their options become limited: however, emerging hubs might be the answer to their problems. Riga International Airport (RIX), which seemingly has outgrown its own Baltic States' market, is looking to compete on a wider scale and to provide the answer. Question is, are they prepared to do so?