airBaltic Announces Impressive A220-Driven Summer Expansion

In the past several weeks, Latvian flag carrier airBaltic has filed to expand its excising summer 2020 routes. Flying the popular Airbus A220-300, the Riga-based airline will serve existing routes, including seasonal destinations with its new aircraft. After clocking in an impressive 22% growth in passenger numbers in 2019 compared to the previous year, airBaltic is looking to take advantage of its hubs in Riga, Tallinn, and Vilnius as a bridge between East and West.

airBaltic to expand summer flights from Riga. Photo: airBaltic

As airBaltic moves towards an all-Airbus A220 fleet, it is not just obscure destinations like Almaty International Airport (ALA) in Kazakhstan or Kazan International Airport (KZN) in Russia that will fuel growth. Instead, the airline may find growth in business destinations closer to home.

Before we get into that though, here is a list of summer destinations, airBaltic will be flying to from Riga.

airBaltic summer schedule

The following destinations will see service from airBaltic’s hub in Riga:

  • Aberdeen twice weekly from the 5th of September
  • Adler/Sochi twice weekly starting June 1st
  • Almaty three times per week starting March 29th
  • Baku twice weekly starting April 2nd
  • Bordeaux twice weekly starting April 23rd
  • Catania once per week starting on March 29th and twice weekly between the 5th of May and the 4th of October
  • Dubrovnik twice weekly starting May 2nd
  • Kazan twice weekly starting April 20th
  • Kos once a week starting May 9th
  • Malta twice weekly starting April 26th Riga to Odessa six time per week starting June 3rd
  • Olbia once a week starting June 4th
  • Palma once a week starting May 3rd and then twice a week between July 7th and August 20th
  • Rhodes once a week starting April 24th
  • Rijeka twice a week starting May 27th
  • Split once a week from July 1st and then twice a week starting September 4th
  • Stavanger twice a week starting April 28th
  • Thessaloniki twice a week starting May 12th
  • Venice twice weekly starting May 2nd

AirBaltic is looking at Scandinavia

Should the Baltic based airline decide to purchase 30 more Airbus A220-300s, it is considering taking its business model to Scandinavia by opening four more hubs in the Norse lands.

airBaltic is thinking about expanding into Scandinavia. Photo: airBaltic

While speaking to aviation website Routesoneline, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss said:

“If we exercise the options—and the basis for that is if we successfully execute our current business plan—then we want to place these aircraft in Scandinavia at four different airports and then serve point-to-point routes from them,” Gauss said.

“These aircraft would not fly into the Baltic system as we have today, but we would still offer the same airBaltic product.”

Currently, airBaltic has 22 Airbus A220s in its fleet, with a further 28 expected to be delivered by the end of 2022. All of the new aircraft will be based at its Baltic hubs. However, should the airline look to expand, then Sweden, Norway, and Denmark could all come into play.

airBaltic’s option on 30 more A220s

Besides the aircraft already mentioned, airBaltic has options on a further 30 A220s as part of an agreement the airline signed with the European planemaker in May of 2018. Gauss told RoutesOnline that a decision on the new aircraft will not be made until the end of 2021, so it is still dependent on many factors.

airBaltic will evaluate further expansion at the end of 2021. Photo: airBaltic

Simple Flying’s experience with airBaltic thus far has been quite positive. With the airline using almost exclusively Airbus A220 aircraft, the opening of bases in neighboring countries offers an exciting next step. However, given the coronavirus outbreak, it is probably the last thing the airline is working on these days.

Have you flown airBaltic before? If so, we would love to hear what you think about them and the A220 experience in the comments section.

 * The schedule in this article was previously published by Routesonline.*