Latvia’s second-biggest airline now plans to expand operations to North America and Canada.
A consolidated audit of the Baltic wet lease and charter carrier SmartLynx Airlines shows that the company’s net turnover increased by 21% to €131.5 million in 2017.
Calling itself “the leading ACMI and charter provider in the EU [with the] Airbus A320” and the second largest passenger air carrier in Latvia, it says that aircraft wet lease services represent 56% of its portfolio, with charter flights representing another 42%.
The airline, which was founded as Latcharter in 1992, says that wet lease services now account for a net turnover of €73.2 million in 2017, up 26.9% on 2016 and 46.2% on 2015, while charter flight turnover amounted to €55.6 million, or 12.6% more than last year and 37.2% more than in 2015.
Other segments of the portfolio – €2.8 million or 2.09% – consist of passenger-related services and the SmartLynx Training Centre for pilots, offering rating courses for the A320 series.
The positive financial indicators are due to the increased number of aircraft in the fleet and better aircraft utilisation, Zygimantas Surintas, SmartLynx Airlines’ chief executive, explained.
On average, SmartLynx aircraft flew 26% more hours in 2017 than the previous year. This constituted 15,933 flights from 25 base airports in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which represents 46,157 block hours,” he said.
He added that the number of passengers flying SmartLynx had consistently increased, reaching 2.5 million in 2017, which is 31.6 % more than in 2016 and 56.3% more than in 2015.
Cracking the US market
SmartLynx says its strategic plan is to become the first choice for medium-range ACMI and charter flights in Europe. To do this, it aims to expand its fleet and area of operations and is “working intensively” to develop business in North America and Canada. More specifically, SmartLynx plans to offer flights from Canada to Latin America and the Caribbean islands.