What Happened To airBaltic’s Boeing 757s?

Did you know that Latvian flag carrier airBaltic used to fly the Boeing 757? It admittedly did so on a comparatively small scale, but Boeing’s famous long, thin twinjet was a part of the furniture at airBaltic as recently as 2014. Let’s take a look at its story with the airline.

airBaltic Boeing 757
airBaltic’s 757s each had 200 seats onboard. Photo: Mark Harkin via Flickr


According to data from ch-aviation.com, airBaltic has operated two Boeing 757s over the course of its history. These both belonged to the standard 757-200 variant, although this is unsurprising, given the relative lack of success had by the stretched 757-300.

The first 757-200 to arrive at airBaltic bore the registration YL-BDC, and it came onboard in March 2008. The aircraft was second-hand, and initially joined Spanish flag carrier Iberia in December 1999. There, it bore the registration EC-HDU and the name Uruguay. airBaltic operated it with 200 economy seats, and added winglets in December 2008.

During its time airBaltic, this aircraft spent 10 months on lease at Cambodia’s TonleSap Airlines between May 2012 and March 2013. It left airBaltic in March 2014, and joined Russian carrier Royal Flight, which fitted it with an extra 24 seats. This airline withdrew it just before it turned 20 years old, and it has been stored in Goodyear, Arizona since 2019.

Royal Flight Boeing 757
The aircraft in 2018 during its time at Royal Flight. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

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To begin with, airBaltic’s second 757 had a very similar career pattern to the first example. It began life at Iberia in November 1999, registered as EC-HDR and named Puente Aereo Madrid-Barcelona. The 200-seat aircraft then joined airBaltic in December 2008, where it took on the registration YL-BDB. Similarly, its first lease period was to TonleSap Airlines.

However, it spent a shorter time at the Cambodian carrier than its counterpart. Indeed, it was there for just six months, from December 2011 to May 2012. In another contrast, it then had lease periods at other airlines, rather than returning to airBaltic. These were Palau Airways (May 2012 – October 2012) and Nepal’s BB Airways (October 2012 – May 2013).

After the aircraft returned to airBaltic in May 2013, it spent a final nine months at the airline before moving on. Much like its counterpart YL-BDC, February 2014 also saw this particular plane join Royal Flight, where it was fitted with another 24 seats. While also now in storage in Goodyear, US lessor AerSale Inc purchased it in December 2020.

TonleSap Airlines Boeing 757
TonleSap Airlines’ Boeing 757s that it leased from airBaltic retained the Latvian carrier’s green winglets. Photo: M Radzi Desa via Wikimedia Commons

An evolving fleet

airBaltic has seen considerable fleet evolution in its 26 years of operations. The 757 is not the only Boeing twinjet that the Latvian flag carrier has flown. Indeed, 20 examples of the best-selling 737 family have also graced its fleet. At the smaller end of the spectrum, various turboprop designs have also seen varying periods of service at airBaltic.

Nowadays, however, the airline is known for being an all-Airbus A220 operator. At the time of writing, its young fleet consisted of 27 A220-300s with an average age of just 2.6 years old. The enhanced comfort levels onboard these next-generation narrowbodies have seen airBaltic become a favorite airline among many European travelers.

Did you know that airBaltic used to fly the Boeing 757? Perhaps you flew on one yourself during the aircraft’s time at the Latvian flag carrier? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.