airBaltic Announces Impressive 22% Passenger Increase In 2019

Latvian carrier airBaltic carried over five million passengers in 2019 according to a recent press release. In fact, this marks an increase of 22% over 2018 figures, making a new record for the airline and its 25 years of operation.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, Engine Replacement
airBaltic was the launch operator of the Airbus A220-300. Photo: airBaltic

“We are reaching new heights and offering better connections to people travelling to and from the Baltics. In 2019, we continued our sustainable growth path and showed strong results that will help us to pave our future path, strengthening our role as the largest carrier in the region.” -Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic

By the numbers

Below are the numbers presented by airBaltic demonstrating its growth between 2018 and 2019.

2019 2018 Change
Number of passengers 5 049 317 4 135 711 22%
Number of flights 62748 56261 12%
Load factor 76% 75% +1%-point
15-minute flight punctuality indicator 86% 88% -2%-points

The carrier’s on-time arrival numbers rival that of the top US airlines – at least for the month of November. And while the airline should celebrate this and its 22% increase in passengers, it should be noted that the airline’s load factor is roughly 6% below the estimated worldwide average for 2019. We asked the airline about this and will update this article if a response is received.

Driven by the Airbus A220

“…by adding more Airbus A220-300 to our fleet, [we] increased the comfort and reliability of our flights. Already now majority of our passengers fly on the Airbus A220-300 aircraft,” -Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic

The driving (or flying) force behind the small Baltic carrier is the relatively new Airbus A220. airBaltic was an early adopter of the aircraft and was the launch customer for the A220-300 – known as the Bombardier CS300 when it was first purchased.

The airline is incredibly proud of its fleet of A220s, which Airfleets currently lists as being 22-strong. In fact, airBaltic has fully taken delivery of its initial order of 20 and is now into its order of an additional 30 of the aircraft. Furthermore, it has the option to take 30 more. The A220s have been replacing the airline’s aging Boeing 737 classics. In comparison, the A220 is far more fuel-efficient, quieter, and offers a better inflight passenger experience.

Airbaltic gender balance
airBaltic’s mainly flies the Airbus A220-300. Photo: airBaltic

New routes in 2020

In recent months the airline made a number of announcements regarding new routes and services across Europe to commence in Spring 2020. Destinations from Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Tallinn (Estonia) include:

  • Manchester, U.K.
  • Aberdeen, U.K.
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Nice, France
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Trondheim, Norway
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Rome, Italy
  • Kazan, Russia
  • Adler/Sochi, Russi
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Rijeka, Croatia
  • Yerevan, Armenia

This impressive route expansion is part of a growth strategy, serving the Baltic region. The new services increase airBaltic’s Estonia offering by 25% which means that by this summer, passengers will be able to travel to 16 destinations from Estonia. The five new destinations out of Vilnius will make up 45% of airBaltic’s Lithuania summer offering.

airbaltic, frequent flyer, VIP level
airBaltic is phasing out its aging Boeing 737s with the new A220. Photo: airBaltic

Conclusion

We’re excited for airBaltic and eager to see how it performs with its slew of new routes launching in the next few months. Hopefully, it can up its load factor and fill its planes a little more.

Have you flown on airBaltic yet? Let us know how your experience was by leaving a comment!

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