The Latvian airline airBaltic received the CAPA Regional Airline of the Year award in a special ceremony in Malta on December 5, 2019. For the second time, airBaltic has been recognised as the leader of the regional aviation sector by CAPA's Aviation Awards for Excellence which is held annually since 2003 with professionals participating from airlines around the world.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic said: “We at airBaltic have had yet another year of intense work and successful growth. We have continued developing our services, modernising the fleet and widening the route network for better connectivity. More passengers appreciate our product and choose airBaltic as their carrier. As a result, our total market share in the Baltics this year has reached 37%, ranking airBaltic the No 1 airline in Latvia and Estonia with 60% and 21% of market share respectively. The CAPA Regional Airline of the Year award is a great honour and an excellent motivation for our team to follow the course of constant improvement and growth.”
CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison said: “airBaltic combines an LCC cost base with a compelling business class product, while its route network meshes point to point demand with a hub and spoke model. Its growth and return to profit, built on a strong market share in its home market of Latvia and the wider Baltic region, should certainly attract investor interest.”
airBaltic has been among the fastest growing airlines in Northern Europe, reaching double digit passenger growth each month for more than three years running. The airline has significantly developed its route network from 16 destinations in 2002 to 70+ today spanning Europe, Scandinavia, the CIS and the Middle East. In 2018, airBaltic carried four million passengers and by the end of this year the airline is expecting to carry five million passengers.
airBaltic holds a leading position in the Baltic region, being the market leader at Riga International Airport by record high market share and an established presence at Vilnius and Tallinn airports with a competitive cost structure. According to a recent study by business strategy consultants Roland Berger, airBaltic directly and indirectly contributed 2.5% to Latvia’s GDP in 2018 and supported close to 30 000 jobs.
The strong performance of the airline enabled airBaltic to become the first airline in Central and Eastern Europe to access the international debt capital markets with a Eurobond offering. In July 2019, airBaltic successfully issued EUR 200 million five-year bonds which will be used to strengthen company’s liquidity and continue investments into fleet. Investors have clearly shown that they see airBaltic's strategy as mature and strong. airBaltic regards all these achievements as good preconditions for an eventual IPO in the coming years.