airBaltic Set To Resume Tallinn Operations From Monday

airBaltic is gearing up to restart its operations as soon as next week. The airline will be operating…

airBaltic Set To Resume Tallinn Operations From Monday

airBaltic is gearing up to restart its operations as soon as next week. The airline will be operating Airbus A220-300 from Tallinn Airport to four European cities. The Latvian flag carrier will also begin operations from its base in Riga from 18th May as it slowly builds back its operation.

airBaltic plans to relaunch operations from Tallinn next week. Photo: Jo Bailey / Simple Flying

airBaltic reinstates international routes from Tallinn

Just one week ago, Latvian airline airBaltic received vital funding, nearly US$270m, to help it through the coronavirus. This week, the airline is proving that it has the strength to carry on. Today (14th May), airBaltic announced that it would be reinstating some of its pivotal routes to Baltic countries and further afield.

The airline announced the news on Twitter, and from 18th May will fly to Amsterdam, Oslo, and Copenhagen. In addition, from 25th May, the airline will return to Vilnius in Lithuania.

airBaltic’s timetable on these routes are as follows:

  • Tallinn – Amsterdam: starting 18th May, offered once daily.
  • Tallinn – Copenhagen: starting 18th May, offered once per day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Tallinn – Oslo: starting 21st May, offered twice per day on Thursdays and Sundays.
Map of TLL - OSL, CPH, AMS
airBatlic will start three routes from Tallinn on the week of 18th May, with more from Riga. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

In a recent press release, the CEO of airBaltic Martin Gauss said:

“Until the crisis began, we were the strongest carrier in Tallinn, providing the best connectivity to our Estonian passengers. Now we return with a clear target to maintain our position in Estonia and the Baltics. By focusing on an all-Airbus A220-300 fleet, we are well-positioned for the restart in Tallinn.”

Gauss is confident in the airline’s strategy and hopes that passengers welcome the opportunity to return to the sky. To ensure passenger safety and confidence, airBaltic will offer passengers a complimentary face mask and two disinfectant wipes when they board.

airBaltic increases its operation in Riga

While airBaltic’s is a measured approach, the airline is taking opportunities where it can to supplement its schedule. The carrier also has plans to relaunch out of Riga on 18th May.

Riga Airport
airBaltic will use Riga airport to fly to Tallinn, Vilnius, Frankfurt, and Oslo. Photo: Avio2016 via Wikimedia Commons

The airline will fly from Riga to Tallinn once daily from Monday. As well as this, airBaltic will restart operations between Riga and Vilnius in Lithuania. This route will also operate once daily from 18th May. What’s more, the Latvian airline will even be flying from Riga to Frankfurt and Riga to Oslo between 18th May and 9th June.

All of airBaltic’s route schedules have been made in line with national guidance. The airline has received authorization to fly out of Tallinn already and has received approval from the Latvian government for its operations within the Baltic countries. However, it is still waiting for permission to be granted for its routes from Riga to Frankfurt and Olso.

airBaltic A220-300
airBaltic will also be using an exclusively Airbus A220-300 fleet. Photo: Jo Bailey / Simple Flying

Coming out of the coronavirus with a fighting chance of survival

The fact that airBaltic is plowing ahead with its operations when the coronavirus still debilitates so many airlines demonstrates its strength within the market. The airline has been focused on manifesting its return. On 23rd April, its Supervisory Board approved a new business plan called Destination 2025 CLEAN. The strategy outlines how airBaltic plans to move forward in the coming years.

It will start with an all-Airbus A220-300 fleet of 22 aircraft. This means that the airline will leave its three Boeing 737-300 and 12 Dash 8-400s parked. The airline will, naturally, reduce its capacity for 2020 and 2021 and slowly grow its fleet. By 2023, it hopes to have 50 A220-300 aircraft.

The next few weeks and even months look promising for airBaltic.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments. 

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MPs Unhappy As British Airways Pushes On With Job Consultations

British MP Huw Merriman today commented that it was disappointing that British Airways continues a consultation over job…

MPs Unhappy As British Airways Pushes On With Job Consultations

British MP Huw Merriman today commented that it was disappointing that British Airways continues a consultation over job cuts. The carrier is currently in discussions with unions to ensure as many jobs as possible are saved once the current crisis has passed.

MPs are disappointed that IAG is continuing consultation on up to 12,000 job cuts. Photo: Stuart Bailey / British Airways

British Airways is currently in a period of consultation as it works out exactly how to react to the decreased demand expected for the first few years once the aviation industry recovers. Nothing firm has been confirmed in any direction yet. However, several options are on the table. On Monday, the consultations became a hot topic of discussion when a group of MPs got the opportunity to quiz International Airlines Group (IAG) leader Willie Walsh.

What’s new?

On Monday, we reported that IAG CEO Willie Walsh had appeared in front of the government’s transport select committee. Here he initially criticized the Prime Ministers planned quarantine before being asked a range of questions by the MPs present. Unsurprisingly, a lot of these questions were about British Airways’ consultation regarding job cuts.

Walsh was asked to send a follow-up letter to the group containing information that he could not immediately recall, in addition to some other details. In the letter to MPs, Walsh said:

“We must act now to secure the maximum number of jobs possible, consistent with the reality of a structurally changed airline industry in a severely weakened global economy. I want to confirm therefore that we will not pause our consultations or put our plans on hold.”

IAG, British Airways, Job Consultation
The airline is attempting to safeguard as many jobs as possible while coping with a drop in demand due to the current crisis. Photo: Geoff Caddick Press Association via British Airways

MPs disappointed

MPs were understandably disappointed with Walsh’s decision to push ahead with the plan to consider cutting jobs. The Chair of the Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said that the reason for the disappointment was that the consultation was continuing despite the government’s furlough scheme being extended.

Merriman issued a comment on this issue, saying:

“This is not what people would expect from our national flag carrier. BA’s loyal staff deserve better than to be treated like this.”

What options are on the cards?

As mentioned previously, at this stage in proceedings, no firm action has been taken by either IAG or British Airways. In late April, the International Airlines Group announced that up to 12,000 jobs could be cut at British Airways. This figure is the worst-case scenario. However, it would represent around a third of the British Airways workforce.

IAG, British Airways, Job Consultation
Willie Walsh today said that British Airways would continue with its consultation. Photo: Stuart Bailey via Wikipedia

A memo that was seen by the BBC also mentioned that closing the airline’s London Gatwick base closing down could form part of the consultation. However, again, this is merely an option as opposed to a firm plan. Willie Walsh has since stated that it would be his personal preference that IAG maintains a presence at London’s southern airport.

What do you make of IAG’s decision to continue its consultations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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