airBaltic is aiming to become an all-Airbus A220 operator. Yesterday I had the chance to chat with the CEO of airBaltic, Martin Gauss, alongside my colleagues at the Paris Air Show. One of the topics discussed was the increased range of the Airbus A220-300.
A month ago, Airbus surprised the aviation world with the increased performance of both the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300. While both aircraft will receive more range, we will focus on the Airbus A220-300 operated by airBaltic. In fact, the A220-300 will have an increased range of 3,350 nautical miles when the changes are pushed through.
Significant range increase
airBaltic currently operates the Airbus A220-300 with a range of 4,575 km, according to their fleet information. This equates to 2,470 nautical miles. Meanwhile, Airbus lists the aircraft’s range as 3,200 nautical miles.
However, Airbus announced on the 21st of May at their Innovation Days that the range of the aircraft would be increased. While it currently stands at an advertised 3,200, Airbus will be able to increase this to 3,350. This marks a 150 nautical mile increase, however, it is an increase of 880 nautical miles over the figure which airBaltic currently advertises as “operational range” of the aircraft.
Looking at new cities
Simple Flying asked Mr Gauss “With the increased range of the A220, do you think that’s going to change your strategy because there are more destinations you can reach now?”
In response, Mr Gauss told Simple Flying that Airbus gave the airline a presentation on which destinations will now be within the aircraft’s reach from Riga. He then added:
“We see cities now like [Addis Ababa], Delhi, We haven’t looked at that before because it was out of reach. Now it’s within reach, and we’ll have a look at each of these cities, whether one them makes sense for us to serve.”
A whole new world
Indeed, airBaltic will be able to reach a whole new world by utilising the increased range of the A220. This would include most of North Africa, a sizeable portion of India, as well as a good chunk of China.
Currently, the longest route operated by airBaltic spans a distance of 2,360 nautical miles. This is the route from Riga to Abu Dhabi. In comparison, flights from Riga to Delhi would be 2,800 nautical miles, and Riga to Addis Ababa would clock in at 2,950 nautical miles.
It is important to stress that airBaltic has no firm plans at this time to fly to either Delhi or Addis Ababa. It is simply exploring the feasibility of these routes. Additionally, the increased range of Airbus’ A220-300 will not be available until the second half of 2020. Despite this, I’d personally love to see the green and white livery of airBaltic at more destinations around the world!
What do you think airBaltic should do with the increased range of the Airbus A220-300? Let us know in the comments!