August 15, 2022
CEO Interview: What’s Next for airBaltic?
FIA2022 Interview

CEO Interview: What’s Next for airBaltic?

FARNBOROUGH – At the Farnborough Airshow, we caught up with airBaltic’s (BT) Chief Executive Officer, Martin Gauss, to discuss how the carrier molded to the Airbus A220-300 and the airline’s next steps.

Since acquiring its first A220-300 in 2016, the carrier has gone from being a small, regional airline to a powerful European airline.

The airline currently operates a fleet of 36 aircraft, all of which are A220-300s. The new A220s replaced older Boeing 737 and Bombardier DHC-8-400 aircraft, providing a far enhanced passenger experience.

Now, the airline is carefully considering its next steps as it aims to further stretch its wings throughout Europe and beyond.

According to Gauss, the Airbus A321XLR and flights to North America are being considered, both of which would be substantial developments for the airline.

Photo: airBaltic

Interview with Martin Gauss

AW: Tell us about how airBaltic decided to order the A220-300, and how the aircraft has shaped your airline since then.

MG: Exactly 10 years ago at the Farnborough Airshow, we signed an LOI (Letter of Intent) for, at that time CS300, now the A220-300, and today you are standing on number 36 of that initial order. 

The aircraft has been in service with us since 2016, and we became the launch operator of the A220-300 we have another four coming this year, and eight coming next year. These are firm orders, and we have another 30 options. 

It has changed our airline. Today, we are an all-A220-300 operator, we fly routes that are very short, like a 30-minute sector, but also up to seven hours from Dubai. We fly 100 routes with the same aircraft, the same concept in a 2-class configuration. 

Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

We have a full-service European business class and an ultra-low-cost economy cabin, and it works very well. 

It worked before COVID, in COVID of course we had the same issues that all airlines had, but we are coming out of COVID, and the concept in which airBaltic flies with this aircraft being the greenest, most environmentally friendly aircraft in its category helps us. 

The passengers are looking for ‘what is modern, what is new’, and that is the newest you can fly. We’re very happy, and Airbus asked us to bring the aircraft to the airshow to show it. 

We’ve flown more than 8 million passengers on the A220-300, and overall the aircraft has seen over 60 million passengers. It’s established, very much liked by the flying public, and for us, it’s very economic to operate.

AW: airBaltic has a dedicated business class and economy product. Do you envision ever having something in the middle, like a premium economy product?

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Featured Image: Kochan Kleps/Airways

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