On a flightpath to becoming an all-CS300 operator, Latvian hybrid airline airBaltic has welcomed its ninth Bombardier CS300 jet and is planning for five more of the type by the end of this year.
The new aircraft, registered as YL-CSI (MSN 55034), which is on a 12-year contract from UK-based aircraft leasing company Avation, arrived in Riga on June 16 and is already in operation.
By the end of 2018, the Riga-based airline plans to have a total of 14 CS300 aircraft in its fleet.
In late May, airBaltic announced a long-term firm purchase agreement for 30 Bombardier CS300 aircraft, with options for an additional 30. The order complements the existing order of 20 CS300 aircraft and forms the backbone of the airBaltic’s future business.
Since the introduction of the C Series variant in December 2016, airBaltic has carried more than 1.16 million passengers on its brand new 145-seat CS300 jets, with every fourth airBaltic passenger now flying on the type. The CS300 has now clocked up more than 11,319 flights and flown 29,977 block-hours.
The Latvian airline clearly needs additional capacity judging by its May results, which show 22 per cent growth year-on-year to 386,353 passengers. In the first five months of 2018 airBaltic transported 1.45 million, 22 per cent more than in the same period last year, to a network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East.
Martin Gauss, chief executive of airBaltic, enthuses: “We expect even larger passenger figures during the upcoming three months.”
airBaltic, which serves more than 70 destinations from the Baltic countries’ three capital cities of Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius, is a joint stock company established in 1995. Its primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 80.05 per cent of the stock, while Danish businessman Lars Thuesen holds around 20 per cent.
The airBaltic fleet consists of 32 aircraft – nine Bombardier CS300s, 11 Boeing 737s and 12 Bombardier Q400NG turpobrops.
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