As airBaltic increases its network potential by moving towards a single-type A220 fleet, the airline has announced its third route network update this side of 2019. The most recent announcement gives airBaltic 13 new routes for its summer 2020 network out of three Baltic hubs.
From Tallinn and Vilnius
If there is ever a time to expand a route network, there is no better opportunity than in the summer. airBaltic has done just that with an augmented summer offering of 13 routes from Tallinn in Estonia, Vilnius in Lithuania, and Riga in Latvia.
In yesterday’s announcement, airBaltic confirmed that four direct routes will be operating from Tallinn to four countries starting from March 2020. There will also be five new routes on offer from airBaltic’s hub in Vilnius to four European countries. These routes will also start in late March 2020.
The new routes to and from Tallinn will be as follows:
- Hamburg, Germany. Starting 29th March 2020 with four flights per week
- Rome, Italy. Starting 30th March 2020 with two flights per week
- Zurich, Switzerland. Starting 31st March 2020 with three flights per week
- Nice, France. Starting 1st May 2020 with two flights per week.
From Vilnius, airBaltic will also be operating in Zurich and Hamburg. But routes out of this hub will also spread to Sweden and Croatia. The routes are as follows:
- Gothenburg, Sweden. 29th March 2020 with two flights per week
- Hamburg, Germany. 30th March 2020 with three flights per week
- Zurich, Switzerland. 31st March 2020 with two flights per week
- Dubrovnik, Croatia. 2nd May 2020 with two flights per week
- Rijeka, Croatia. 7th May 2020 with one flight per week.
That’s in addition to the previously announced four new routes that will fly from Riga.
Heeding customer demand
airBaltic has said that the latest bout of expansion is part of a growth strategy. The current route options out of Tallinn represent a significant increase in operations offered by this hub. The new services increase airBaltic’s Estonia offering by 25% which means that by the time summer hits, passengers will be able to travel to 16 destinations from Estonia.
However, the route expansion in Vilnius is even more conspicuous. These five new destinations make up 45% of airBaltic’s Lithuania summer offering. By contrast, the air carrier will offer nearly seven times the amount of destinations of its Lithuanian network in Latvia alone.
And the airline has cited customer demand for the strengthened network. airBaltic says that local customer interest is the leading factor when it comes to designing new routes. CEO of airBaltic, Martin Gauss said in the airline’s press statement:
“As we continue to grow, we aim to provide the best connectivity to and from all three Baltic capitals. When evaluating, which destinations to launch from the Baltic capitals, we are at first looking for the most demanded ones among the local passengers…By next summer, we will already serve 16 destinations from Estonia, 11 from Lithuania and over 70 destinations from Latvia.”
However, there’s something else that will be pivotal in determining airBaltic’s next network move. That’s right, we’re not expecting the airline’s expansion to stop here.
Aircraft leading the way
Whilst airBaltic might look to its customers to determine the best route options, it’s still limited by the aircraft it flies. However, with the move towards an entirely A220 fleet, airBaltic is also expanding its network options. We’ve already seen it make destinations like Abu Dhabi more attainable with the introduction of A220 operations and this expansion will continue.
In 2020, airBaltic is hoping to make the leap from Riga to Kazan in Russia as well as Aberdeen in Scotland. But that’s not all. Having just received its 22nd A220-300 (Airbus’ 100th A220) the world suddenly becomes smaller. With a full A220 fleet, it could mean branching further away from Europe into countries like India and Ethiopia.
— airBaltic (@airBaltic) December 6, 2019
By the end of 2020, airBaltic expects a further delivery of four aircraft so we’ll be keeping an eye pinned closely on the other routes it will undoubtedly release.
Where do you think airBaltic will head to next? Will you be flying any of these new routes? Let us know in the comments below!