LONDON – Latvian carrier airBaltic has announced that it will phase out the remaining Boeing 737s in its fleet in the Autumn of 2019.
This is instead of the plans to phase the aircraft out in 2020, bringing its strategic operational plans forward one year.
The carrier has six Boeing 737-300s and two 737-500s after three 737-500s were phased out in 2018.
This is due to the airline wanting to “minimize complexity and benefit from the additional efficiency of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft”.
Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic continued with this point.
“Airbus A220-300 is the aircraft of our future and, by phasing out the Boeing 737, we will have the youngest jet fleet in Europe.”
“The introduction of Airbus A220-300 has been very successful and provided the additional efficiency any airline is seeking in the highly competitive aviation market.”
“Thanks to the good overall performance we took a decision to introduce a single type fleet of up to 80 (50 firm order and 30 options) Airbus A220-300 aircraft by 2022.”
The airline has received up to 14 A220-300s so far, with an additional eight set to be delivered this year alone.
For airBaltic, this will be a better benefit for the carrier as it will reduce emissions of CO2 and NOX by 20% and 50% overall.
Noise emissions are four times smaller than its other aircraft in the fleet also.
The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s in the airBaltic fleet will also be phased out as the carrier wants the A220-300 to be the only aircraft in its fleet.
This will ultimately bring training costs down as it is only focused on one specific type of aircraft.
The carrier already serves over 70 destinations from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius alone, meaning that these airports in particular will no doubt see further expansion down the line as new routes are announced.
Summer 2019 alone will see the airline introduce flights to Dublin, Stuttgart, Lviv, Kos and Menorca from Riga, which gives a significant indicator into growth plans.
It will be interesting to see whether airBaltic exercise the additional 30 in the option book and what destinations these new aircraft will be deployed on.