airBaltic Airbus A220-300. Photo: Anna Zvereva.

MIAMI – airBaltic (BT) announced today it has been granted permission to resume direct frequencies to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and launch a new service in July.

On March 15, the airline suspended all capacity until April; however, the spread of the virus delayed those plans for Q3 2020.

Today’s announcement also includes the implementation of stronger safety measures and fleet reductions.

Announced flights to LGW

The flight resumptions date from the Riga-LGW route will be July 1; service from Tallin start on July 4. In addition, a new direct flight will be launched between Vilnius-London, also on July 1.

Apart from all three Baltic states now having routes to London, BT CEO Martin Gauss said that the safety and health of passengers remain the highest priority.

Due to this, the company will provide a complimentary basic care kit with face masks and disinfection wipe, following recommendations from health authorities.

New travel concerns for passengers

Working closely with officials, the airline informed passengers that they should be aware of travel regulations and airport restrictions before taking a flight.

The suggestion relies on the rapid change of regulations per country. Regarding this, BT further mentioned that it will be flexible with flight schedule if it is needed.

Changes to BT’s 2020 plans

In the near future, the carrier expects to resume operations to Croatia, Spain, France, and Italy, but flights will be operated by an A220 fleet.

In April, BT announced that it would only fly these aircraft due to the current situation. That is to say, in the post-COVID-19 short-term, the company will mot operate its Boeing 737-300 and Dash 8-400.

The remaining Boeing 737-300 are part of a prior phase-out plan, but will not fly again until 2021 as the aircraft is not needed for regular flights.

Photo: Aleksandrs Samuilovs from Wikimedia Commons.

Current fleet

The airline has a fleet of 22 A220-300, 12 Dash 8-400 and four Boeing 737-300, according to ch-aviation.

In addition, BT is waiting for 28 A220 to replace its Boeing aircraft and help it expand its network.

Prior to the pandemic, BT had expected to launch and start 13 new routes during Summer 2020.