By Benjamin Pham
How AirBaltic is preparing for next summer
The long and continuing circumstances and challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic are evolving and continuing to be pervasive as new scientific developments emerge. At the same time, the airline industry has strived to be constantly responsive and alert, adapting to overcome the obstacles of the dilemma. Demand for passenger travel continues to experience highs and lows, gradually increasing as travel restrictions are relaxed and more borders reopen.
While some travel security protocols remain in place, higher passenger load factors have encouraged several major airlines like airBaltic to hire more staff to deal with the increase in advance, as well as adding new flight frequencies while expanding its fleet in favor of more efficient aircraft.
Currently, 320 new crew members, including 120 pilots and 200 flight attendants, are expected to join us ahead of the summer holiday and pleasure travel season of 2022. The Latvian national airline plans to welcome to again the former pilots who were released from duty at the height of the Covid-19 predicament last year as well as the graduates of the airline’s pilot academy.
“We are delighted to see an increasing demand for travel and have launched several new destinations this year. As immunization coverage increases globally and travel restrictions ease, we stand ready to resize our flight operations. This is why we have made the decision to rehire our former employees and add new members to our team for the next summer season, ”said Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic.
Meanwhile, as the airline’s workforce returns and increases for its flight operations, the carrier intends to expand its fleet of Airbus A220-300s by the end of next year after having recently received its 31st aircraft, which was the sixth of the carrier’s seven deliveries expected this year. . The Riga-based carrier only operates this variant of the aircraft after strategically planning and deciding to phase out its older and less efficient Boeing 737s in 2019 and 2020.
Gauss added: “In 2022, we also plan to receive eight additional new Airbus A220-300s. By hiring additional aircrew now, we will continue our preparations to perform flights with a fleet of 40 aircraft that we expect to have by the end of 2022. “
Throughout the Covid-19 conundrum, airBaltic maintained its flight operations, which potentially played an important role in staying afloat and preserving its network of routes. In mid-September, the carrier announced that its current route network exceeded its 2019 offering. The airline currently serves nearly 90 routes from its hubs in Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia and Vilnius, Lithuania.
“AirBaltic connects the Baltic region with more than 30 different countries. Through a strong codeshare network of 24 different partners, many of which offer global connectivity, airBaltic passengers can easily reach many parts of the world, ”said Gauss, a philosophy accurately described by the carrier’s strategy. and the decision to receive more planes, pump hundreds of additional seats and strengthen its workforce.
Obviously, airBaltic is preparing to have a bigger presence across Europe and to be attentive to the current trends within the aviation industry. There is no doubt that passengers are also eager to travel next year and that crew members are needed to make the flights. However, it is imperative that airBaltic is aware of the new costs and smoothly reintegrates personnel and aircraft into operations.