MIAMI – The European Commission, under European Union State aid rules, has approved the Latvian government’s investment of €250m (US$281m) into the equity of the Latvian airline airBaltic (BT) for the carrier to overcome the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and resume growth.
The Commission pointed out that travel restrictions imposed by countries as they limited the spread of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the entire aviation industry.
The UC also noted the important role which BT plays in the Latvian economy as other reasons for this large financial aid package.
Result for airBaltic
This financial aid was exactly what BT needed. “The European Commission has concluded that the increase in airBaltic share capital will contribute to overcoming the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Latvian economy as a whole,” said airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss.
Gauss added, “At the moment, we are already on the path of recovery and we greatly appreciate Latvian society and the government’s confidence in the future of the airline. airBaltic management and employees have shown their dedication to the company and to the Baltics by leading the airline through this crisis.”
This economic benefit should assist the flag carrier in remaining standing through the rest of the pandemic.
The Latvian Government’s airline was founded in 1995 and flies to over 55 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. It is regarded as one of the world’s most punctual airlines.
Air Baltic Fleet
Currently, BT has 16 of its 22 Airbus A220 in service. The rest of the fleet, comprised of six A220, four Boeing 737-300, and 12 De Havilland Dash 8-400 are all temporarily stored due to low demand.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, this financial aid is intended to help BT stay prosperous and slowly bring its fleet back into service when demand for travel resumes.