The Latvian airline airBaltic has marked the seventh anniversary of operating the Airbus A220-300, the most modern and efficient aircraft in its size category. The airline has become the largest A220-300 customer and operator in Europe, with plans to expand its fleet to 100 aircraft by 2030.
airBaltic was the global launch customer and operator of the A220-300, formerly known as the Bombardier CS300, in 2016. Since then, the airline has carried more than 13.4 million passengers on the aircraft, which has performed beyond the company’s expectations.
The A220-300 has enabled airBaltic to offer new destinations, increase frequencies, and improve its operational efficiency. The aircraft has a range of up to 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km), allowing airBaltic to connect Riga with destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Lisbon, and London.
The A220-300 also offers superior comfort and environmental performance, with 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. It has the largest cabin, seats, and windows in its class, as well as a reduced noise footprint. The aircraft can operate with up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and Airbus aims to make it capable of using 100% SAF by 2030.
An incremental order for 30 more aircraft
In November 2023, airBaltic confirmed an incremental order for an additional 30 A220-300s, taking its total firm orderbook to 80 aircraft. The airline expects to receive the remaining 40 aircraft by the end of 2026, and has options for another 20 aircraft.
The order was announced at the Dubai Airshow, where airBaltic showcased its A220-300 in a special livery featuring the Latvian flag. The airline also signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to explore the potential of hydrogen-powered aircraft in the future.
Martin Gauss, President and CEO of airBaltic, said: “This day marks a significant milestone in the history of airBaltic – our plans for the first time ever to operate a fleet of 100 aircraft by 2030. For almost seven years already, the Airbus A220-300 has been the backbone of our operations and has played an integral role in the international success story of airBaltic. Being the global launch customer of the Airbus A220-300, we continue to be a proud ambassador of it. We are grateful to our partners at Airbus for the incredible support, trust, and collaboration over these years.”
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, said: “Thank you to airBaltic for being such an ambassador for the A220 with this repeat order. The A220 offers a unique capability in terms of range, performance, and not to forget, passenger appeal. It is a game-changer for our customers in this important market segment, which we are serving with less fuel-burn, lower emissions and noise, making the A220 a global citizen of choice.”
An all-A220 fleet since 2020
In May 2020, airBaltic became the first airline in the world to operate an all-A220 fleet, after phasing out its Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft. The airline currently operates 44 A220-300s, with an average age of 2.4 years. The aircraft are configured with 145 seats in a single-class layout, offering ample legroom and personal space.
The airline has also introduced a new livery and branding for its A220-300 fleet, featuring the colors of the Latvian flag and the name of the airline in a modern font. The livery reflects the airline’s identity as a proud national carrier and a leading regional airline in the Baltic states.
airBaltic serves over 70 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with a focus on its main hub in Riga and secondary hubs in Tallinn and Vilnius. The airline has won several awards for its innovation and customer service, including the ATW Airline Industry Achievement Award for Market Leader in 2020 and the CAPA Airline of the Year in 2019.