AirBaltic is one of Europe’s key airlines and the flag carrier of Latvia, also serving destinations for Estonia and Lithuania. The company carries millions of passengers per year and is one of the largest operators of the Airbus A220. I put some questions to the CEO of AirBaltic: Mr. Martin Gauss.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?
“Currently, the largest challenges in the aviation industry are supply chain issues, rising fuel and other costs, as well as fluctuating exchange rates. In addition, the ongoing war in Ukraine continues to impact airBaltic and its flight operations – due to the closer airspace, the airline cannot perform flights to and from Russia and Ukraine, therefore losing its biggest transfer traffic to the home base in Riga. “
airBaltic recently decided to equip its fleet with SpaceX’s starlight connectivity system; why was this decision made?
“Having the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft in the airline’s fleet, it was the next logical step for airBaltic to implement the most modern available inflight internet solution on this fleet. airBaltic is excited to improve its service and to soon become the first airline in Europe to launch high-speed, unlimited, and free-of-charge satellite internet on board its flights in Europe and beyond.”
What are you doing to lessen the environmental impact of airBaltic’s aircraft?
“Since May 2022, airBaltic operates a single-type fleet of solely Airbus A220-300 aircraft, and it is currently the greenest commercial aircraft in the skies. The aircraft is considerably quieter – with a four times smaller noise footprint. Moreover, it is the first aircraft to have a transparent declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, helping to reduce CO2 and NOX emissions by 20% and 50% respectively.”
What lessons did airBaltic learn from the pandemic?
“The main lesson from the pandemic for airBaltic and most likely the aviation industry as a whole is the need to be agile and flexible when facing unprecedented challenges. “
With airBaltic being one of the largest operators of the A220, including having a fleet solely made up of them, why was the decision made to do this instead of using a multi-aircraft fleet?
“Having a single type fleet, benefits airBaltic in many different ways. In addition to this aircraft type being the greenest commercial aircraft available, it also benefits the airline in terms of crew training and aircraft maintenance. airBaltic is a proud ambassador of the A220-300 and over the years, the aircraft has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency, and convenience for both passengers and the staff. “
airBaltic has recently been operating flights to Ukraine to help with efforts there, such as delivering mail, is this kind of work important to the company?
“Since April 2022, airBaltic has been providing cargo operations from Ukraine by organizing a multimodal mail transportation system in cooperation with Ukrposhta, the national postal service of Ukraine. Until September of last year, airBaltic has already carried a total weight of over 400 tonnes of mail from Ukraine to various destinations.
airBaltic is pleased and honored that the airline and Ukrposhta have become very important partners. Such work is important for airBaltic, and the airline continues to do its utmost to help the Ukrainian nation, and airBaltic’s hearts and thoughts are with the brave Ukrainian people.”
And finally, what can we see in the near future for airBaltic?
“This year, airBaltic will launch 18 new destinations from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius. This is the largest amount of destinations which airline has ever announced at the same time. airBaltic continues to be the largest carrier in the Baltics, providing vital connectivity to and from the region.
In addition, airBaltic will soon equip its entire fleet with Starlink in-flight internet, developed by SpaceX. Every passenger will benefit from complimentary, high-speed internet during airBaltic flights.”
Cover Image Credit: simpleflying.com