The Latvian national airline airBaltic celebrates 15 years since its first flight on October 1, 1995. Originally an operator of two aircraft, airBaltic has since developed into the largest carrier in the region, expected to close this year with over 3 million passengers, 34 aircraft and 80 destinations in Europe, Middle East, and Russia/CIS served from its home base at North Hub Riga.
Bertolt Flick, President and CEO of airBaltic: “A lot of things have changed during the last fifteen years. airBaltic has grown from two to thirty-four aircraft, the network has expanded from five routes to almost 100. The Baltic States have gone through a period of uninhibited growth, followed by a recession without precedent. However, aviation in our home markets, the Baltics and Finland, has developed and the main beneficiary is the customer. When I looked at old timetables, prices and business reports, I saw how few flights were offered only a few years ago and how prices have changed.”
airBaltic was originally created as an airline for business people flying to and from the Baltic region. In 2002, the carrier was restructured to ensure a low-cost structure and offer affordable point-to-point flights. In 2008, airBaltic reinvented its business again to focus on connection flights for passengers transiting North Hub Riga to reach 80 destinations in Europe, Middle East and the CIS.
airBaltic’s achievements have earned global recognition and awards. airBaltic has previously received the title of Airline of the Year 2009/2010 (Gold Award) from the European Regions Airline Association. airBaltic is also the winner of Air Transport World Phoenix Award 2010 – a global recognition of excellence in restructuring business, an award that has the same meaning for airlines as the Oscar award for filmmakers. This week, airBaltic was acknowledged in the top league of LCCs as a trendsetter and was handed a special award by the Jury of the Budgies World Low Cost Airline Awards, recognising achievements of airBaltic as a hybrid airline.
“I would like to thank our colleagues and customers who encourage us to continuously develop and reinvent airBaltic to be ahead of the competition. I would also like to thank SAS who laid the foundation stone for airBaltic and developed the airline until 2009, ensuring top quality and standards. I thank the Latvian government, airBaltic’s majority owner, for their support over the past fifteen years and Riga International Airport, an important partner for us at our home base, ” continues Bertolt Flick.
airBaltic serves 80 destinations from its home base at Riga, Latvia. From every one of these, airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East.