Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer has described Air Baltic as “an ambassador for the A220” after the airline announced an order for 30 additional -300s, with purchase rights for a further 20 on the first day of the Dubai Airshow.
The latest deal means the airline will have a fleet of 100 A220s by the end of the decade, becoming Europe’s largest operator of the type and the biggest -300 operator in the world. The first aircraft from the new agreement will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2026. It currently has 44 A220s in service, with six left to arrive from previous deals.
The Latvian flag carrier became the launch customer of the -300 series in 2016. It then began to focus its fleet around the type and, since May 2020, has operated all flights with the state-of-the-art aircraft. According to the airline, since its introduction, Air Baltic has carried over 13,441,000 passengers on the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G powered airline. It has operated over 150,000 flights and flown 328,000 block hours.
Like many A220 operators, Air Baltic, which currently serves 82 cities in 41 countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and part of the CIS from five bases, has also been affected by the PW1500G accelerated engine inspections.
The airline’s CEO and President, Martin Gauss, said that the issues had created “a difficult summer." However, he went on to say that the A220 has been the “backbone” of the fleet and has “played an integral role” in its international success. Gauss added: “The engine is maturing, and we wouldn’t place an order if we didn’t have full trust in the aircraft with the engine.”
According to Airbus, by the end of October 2023, the A220 had received nearly 820 orders from 30 customers, of which over 295 had been delivered – 50 of which have been handed over this year alone.