On Thursday, airBaltic celebrated 25 years since it started operations on October 1st, 1995. The Latvian airline has come a long way since it was launched with a single Saab 340 aircraft.
Over the past year, we’ve seen some pretty significant airline anniversaries. In August 2019, British Airways celebrated 100 years since the first flight of its predecessor, followed shortly by Dutch flag carrier KLM. In November, Qantas is set to celebrate its 100th birthday, albeit not in the circumstances that it had hoped. However, while the oldest airlines have been around for a century, a quarter of a century is still a significant milestone for airBalic.
As we mentioned, airBaltic started operations all those years ago with a single aircraft. A Saab 340. The airline was launched as a joint venture between Latvia and SAS. The airline’s very first flight saw it travel from Riga to Stockholm.
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The year after it was founded, airBaltic began to take delivery of other aircraft, including the Avro RJ70 and the Fokker 50. Fast forward to 2003, and the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 737-500. Then, three years later, the 737-300 joined the fleet. The airline also went on to take Dash-8 aircraft.
The world’s youngest fleet
Despite financial issues around a decade ago, the airline’s current CEO Martin Gauss has taken airBaltic from strength to strength. In 2016, airBaltic took delivery of the world’s first Airbus A220-300, still known as the Bombardier CS300 at the time. The airline now has 23 of the aircraft, with an average age of just 2.2 years, and the oldest aircraft under four years old.
But what happened to the Boeing 737s and Q400s to give airBaltic such a young average age? For a long time, the airline had been planning to retire these aircraft. A break in all operations in March proved the perfect opportunity to do this. While airBaltic would resume flights, these aircraft wouldn’t. As such, the Latvian airline is an all-Airbus A220 carrier.
An airline ‘here to stay’
Commenting on the anniversary, the airline’s CEO Martin Gauss said,
“We are here to stay in order to fulfil our mission to ensure essential connectivity between the Baltic states and the world with a significant economic contribution. In addition, our revised vision sees airBaltic becoming a sustainable carrier in the EU aviation market, while maintaining a continuous growth path and innovative improvement of passenger experience, catalysing Baltic states development as the Europe’s business centre and travel hub.”
Gauss marked the occasion by introducing a new company mission, vision, and core values. The three new core values released by the airline are:
- We deliver – regarding delivering top quality services.
- We care – a commitment to caring about passengers and the environment.
- We grow – a commitment to grasp challenges and opportunities to develop.
Have you flown with airBaltic in the past 25 years? Let us know when and what you thought in the comments!