Estonia’s Nordica Begins Flights With Its Own Name

Up until August 1st, flights on Nordica have been marketed under the LOT Polish Airlines brand. However, this has since changed, with the small Estonian airline being issued an International Air transport Association (IATA) code of its own. Let’s look at Nordica and what’s next for the carrier.

Nordica CRJ
Nordica’s fleet consists of just two Bombardier-built CRJ-900s. However, fellow Nordic Aviation Group airline Xfly operates 10. Photo: Nordica

An IATA code of its own

Before attaining its own IATA code, flights with Nordica were purchased through the ticket sales systems of other companies. LOT Polish Airlines was one of the main partners in this practice, with Nordica’s CRJ-900s operating as LOT flights.

This changed on August 1st, with passengers also now able to book through Nordica’s own sales platform. Chief Commercial Officer Deepak Ahluwalia is looking forward to this new independence, saying in a statement:

“Fully breaking away from LOT Polish Airlines and ensuring we have the capacity we need to operate independently are developments that have occurred over the last year or so.”

Ahluwalia adds that it was never a secret that Nordica was using other airlines’ ticket sales systems and outsourcing flight operation services from other companies.

Nordica CRJ
Services marketed and operated by Nordica have flight numbers that begin with “ND.” Photo: Nordica

Nordica’s first regular service

Operating under its own name, Nordica’s first regular series of flights is a shuttle service hopping between Gällivare, Arvidjaur, and Stockholm (Arlanda) in Sweden. This is a route the airline won as part of a Swedish public procurement process.

Nordica first service
Nordica’s first route under its own name will connect remote Swedish communities. Photo:

This service is operated by one of Nordica’s Bombardier-built CRJ-900s and will have the following flight numbers:

  • Gallivare-Arvidsjaur: ND815
  • Arvidsjaur-Stockholm Arlanda: ND815
  • Stockholm Arlanda-Arvidsjaur: ND816
  • Arvidsjaur-Gallivare: ND811

Flight times between Gallivare-Arvidsjaur are typically around 30 minutes, while flights between Stockholm Arlanda and Arvidsjaur are closer to one hour.

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Government contracts will be key

For Nordica’s Chief Commercial Officer, route procurements represent the greatest potential for his airline. With the global health crisis, Ahluwalia acknowledges that airlines aren’t willing to take the risk of launching routes where profitability is uncertain.

However, the airline is looking at local authorities and other organizations and agencies responsible for transport links as greater sources of stable operating revenues:

“We’re taking part in quite a number of other European procurements, and if we win them we’ll be operating the routes using our own aircraft and crews…It’s a similar model to the one for flights between Tallinn and the Estonian islands,” Ahluwalia explains.

Nordica CRJ
Rather than take a risk on launching its own routes, Nordica is hoping to secure contracts offered by various levels of government in the region. Photo: Nordica

While the airline is searching for procurements further afield, it hasn’t forgotten about its Estonian base. Board Chairman Erki Urva notes that in the future, regular flights out of Tallinn will be launched once the market has recovered:

“The route procurements taking place outside of the country don’t negate direct flights from Tallinn…Quite the reverse: they’re providing us with income to operate with that doesn’t rely on ticket sales or how full our flights are. They’re a great business opportunity for us, and a chance for us to export our service, all of which is helping us get by in the crisis.” -Erki Urva, Chairman of the Management Board 

Nordica is part of the Nordic Aviation Group, which was founded in 2015. The group includes Nordica’s subsidiary “Regional Jet,” which operates under the Xfly brand. Xfly also provides flight services to Nordica, LOT, SAS, and other procurement-based partners in Europe.

What do you think of Nordica’s procurement-based strategy? Let us know in the comments.