Latvian airline buries deeper into Estonian market
The Latvian airline airBaltic will compete directly with Ryanair and British Airways on the route between Tallinn and London from the 2018 summer season, intensifying its presence in neighbouring Estonia.
Its new service between the Estonian capital and London Gatwick starts on March 27, with two flights per week.
The announcement comes two weeks after the Estonian airline Nordica said it would start flights to Copenhagen from late April, emphasising the Danish capital’s position as a hub for worldwide connections. Nordica does not fly to London.
“By adding London to our route map, we show our strong commitment to Estonian market and our Estonian passengers,” said Martin Gauss, airBaltic’s chief executive.
“Next summer we will offer at least seven direct services from Tallinn. We are proud to offer the best connectivity in and out from the Baltics, as airBaltic serves a combination of direct flights and convenient transfers via our main hub in Riga to Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and the CIS.”
airBaltic marked its third anniversary of operations in both Tallinn and Vilnius on October 31, since which it has carried more than 1,600,000 passengers on 11 routes from the two Baltic capitals. It also flies to over 60 destinations from its home base in Riga.
This year alone, the volume of passengers carried in both cities has grown by 23% in Tallinn and 20% in Vilnius. The most popular route has been to Amsterdam, seeing increased traffic in both Baltic capitals.
Gauss comments that “throughout these years 44% of the bookings to Vilnius and Tallinn have been made from other countries”.
From its Riga base, airBaltic plans new routes in summer 2018 to Malaga, Lisbon, Split, Bordeaux, Gdansk and, to tie in with the World Cup in Russia, to Sochi and Kaliningrad.
It carried 251,387 passengers in total in November, 24% more than in the same month of 2016 (load factor 66% in November). In the first eleven months of 2017, it carried 3,258,421 passengers (load factor 77%).