DALLAS – Air Baltic (BT) has announced that it has today, February 1, concluded the redelivery process of its last De Havilland Canada Dash 8-Q400 (YL-BAQ) to leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital. This is despite the aircraft leases not expiring until 2023.
The airline began returning the turboprops in July 2022. At its peak, BT operated 12 of the type after its introduction in 2010. During its service, the Q400 carried around 11 million passengers on 222,000 flights across Europe.
BT’s CEO Martin Gauss said, “The last redelivery flight marks an official end to our previous stage of development. Q400, definitely, was an excellent-performance aircraft, which at the time helped us to get where we are today – flying the most efficient and greenest fleet in Europe.
“Although a smaller plane allows more flexibility occasionally, still a single-type fleet has significant advantages – both economic and technical (maintenance), and also in terms of sustainability and training. We are thankful to Bombardier for service; it was a journey that is recorded in our history. Now we are looking forward and are delighted, how Airbus A220-300 has transformed our airline, becoming one of the core and very valuable assets of the company.”
The airline now operates a single-fleet type, focused on the Airbus A220-300, of which it was the launch customer and is now the world’s largest operator.
BT’s Dash 8 retirement comes just days after Horizon Air (QX), the North American launch customer of the Q400, retired its final example on January 26. Check out Brandon Farris’ trip report from the final flight below.
Featured Image: Air Baltic.