Estonia’s Nordica to expand fleet to 10 aircraft

Nordica has been operating in conjunction with the Polish flag carrier since 2016 One of the carrier's two new Bombardier CRJ900s will be flying its route network, while the other will be operated in the interest of Poland's LOT (Filip Danielczyk / Wikimedia)

Estonian flag carrier Nordica will add two Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets to its current fleet of six CRJ900s and two CRJ700s. The airline says the airframes will be leased from Transpordi Varahaldus (TVH), an Estonian state-run holding company which invests into the country’s transportation sector. Nordica will issue 25 million euros’ worth in bonds with eight-year maturity to finance the deal.

The bonds will be bought in equal shares by two Estonian entities: privately owned banking operation LHV Pank and the namesake pension fund owned by that bank. The transaction is the biggest insertion of commercial capital into Estonian aviation in the country’s post-Soviet history. Four out of Nordica’s current six CRJ900s are owned by TVH.

The Estonian airline has been gradually expanding its operations and becoming more active in supporting its strategic partner LOT Polish Airlines. The Polish carrier first struck up a partnership with the Estonian airline in November 2016. The strategic cooperation involves a common commercial platform and a shared ticket sales system. All flights are operated under the LOT code.

Nordica sources say one of the two new 90-sea CRJ900s will be put on the carrier’s own routes, whereas the other will be used to serve LOT flights.

The airplane Nordica intends to keep for itself is to replace one of its two smaller-capacity CRJ700s, which will be based at Tallinn as a reserve aircraft. “Nordica’s fleet and flight frequency have grown to the point at which having a spare airframe is economically feasible,” says CEO Ahto Parl. “This will further improve the quality and stability of our service, help us save money.”

Nordica is to receive the two aircraft in June and July 2017. The airliners, both understood to have been built in 2011 to the same specifications as the airline’s current examples of the type, will start revenue services in early August.

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