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lightsaber
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AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:48 pm

"In an interview with LETA, the chief executive officer of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss said that the airline will fly with a reduced fleet after the Covid-19 crisis and only with Airbus aircraft."


http://www.baltic-course.com/eng2/transport/?doc=155015

Basically, instead of the 733 being slowly replaced as well as the Q400s, the planned grounding of the non-Airbus fleet is implied to happen quickly.

I have mixed opinions of this. First, he engine problems being found to be a resonance created by the engine FADAC software means great reliability going forward. But the older aircraft being grounded means no surge capability. In other words, growth will be slower.

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slcdeltarumd11
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:05 am

I don't think any airline is worried about growth right now or market share. It's survival mode. This should set them up to be more competitive. I think it's a good move and will offer a single nice consistent product. Logistically also nice to have a single model this will save money.

We are not going to see a summer surge this summer. They might even have enough capacity , carrying extra aircraft just for a surge amount of time is not something most airlines will be able to do anymore. Look at the US3 all parking planes and said they will be smaller. I think they all know summer 2020 and holiday Nov-Dec could be very small. Airlines need to be lean and smart. We will see many go bankrupt.
 
Fitlikemin
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:20 am

We're all doomed basically. Socially and economically. Aviation will be no different.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:59 am

Fitlikemin wrote:
We're all doomed basically. Socially and economically. Aviation will be no different.


Exactly.

I think we need to go back to basics likes farming or hunting. Humanity has gone too far.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:19 am

lightsaber wrote:
"In an interview with LETA, the chief executive officer of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss said that the airline will fly with a reduced fleet after the Covid-19 crisis and only with Airbus aircraft."

In other words, growth will be slower.

Lightsaber


Growth isn't a problem for most airlines at the moment, airlines are planning on shrinking significantly, it will be years before they are back to pre covid-19 size.
 
marcelh
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:23 am

lightsaber wrote:
But the older aircraft being grounded means no surge capability. In other words, growth will be slower.

Lightsaber


Really? The world is facing the biggest crisis in 75 years and you are having doubts about the lack of growth possibilities of a small European airline? If I were you, I should be more concerned about the future of your country....
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:44 am

With all Dash and Boeing aircraft phase-out from the fleet immediately, airBaltic will remain with 68% of total seat capacity. I would say 32% of shrinkage is still a small downsize for niche airline serving niche markets. I am afraid, they may need to shrink even more to stay afloat. They will still have A220 order in their books, so they are able to grow in 2023-2025 if they want to.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:01 am

https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Baltic.htm

The remaining B737 average over 20 years and the DHC8 8 years.

I suspect that the latter may find takers, but the former will be Coke cans.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:17 am

Several posts noted the severity of the crisis, this I understand. I've been in the non-aviation Coronavirus to thread for months. What my point us that AirBaltic is pursuing a single type strategy that precludes any notion of serving a V recovery, which I consider unlikely.

Growth will return. In the great depression shipping lines that found their niche and grew were the dominate in the early 1940s. Yes, the plan must be survival, until at least summer 2021. But eventually growth will return.

Any survival strategy needs a longer term plan. We won't be down forever. My first two friends to catch Coronavirus return to normal life this weekend (two tests negative). This is scary, but overall death rates are down, way down:

https://twitter.com/attachedstring/stat ... 62464?s=19

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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:53 am

lightsaber wrote:
Several posts noted the severity of the crisis, this I understand. I've been in the non-aviation Coronavirus to thread for months. What my point us that AirBaltic is pursuing a single type strategy that precludes any notion of serving a V recovery, which I consider unlikely.

Growth will return. In the great depression shipping lines that found their niche and grew were the dominate in the early 1940s. Yes, the plan must be survival, until at least summer 2021. But eventually growth will return.

Any survival strategy needs a longer term plan. We won't be down forever. My first two friends to catch Coronavirus return to normal life this weekend (two tests negative). This is scary, but overall death rates are down, way down:

https://twitter.com/attachedstring/stat ... 62464?s=19

Lightsaber



They have a long term plan to grow. They have more A220s on order.

How would it benefit them to keep 20year old Boeings around for a surge that even you admit won't be V shaped.
 
Blerg
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:09 am

Let's not forget that in H1 2019 BT actually increased their losses which could lead us to believe their expansion wasn't as profitable as one would expect. Baltic region is not very populous and RIX doesn't have the best geographical location, these two factors limit them long-term especially since their ceiling isn't that high. Shrinking could be a wise way forward for them.

That said, I am sure Latvia will not let them go easily so if they need a cash injection they will get it. Like many of their neighbors.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:03 am

lightsaber wrote:
We won't be down forever. My first two friends to catch Coronavirus return to normal life this weekend (two tests negative). This is scary, but overall death rates are down, way down:

https://twitter.com/attachedstring/stat ... 62464?s=19

We might not be down forever, but quoting one person on twitter does not an argument make. The US alone is going to lose half a million people because of this thing. Death rates are way down? Dude it’s a vertical line right now — up.
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:14 am

bennett123 wrote:
https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Baltic.htm

The remaining B737 average over 20 years and the DHC8 8 years.

I suspect that the latter may find takers, but the former will be Coke cans.


Some of their former B733s and 735s have found new homes, most recently the 735s...

I wouldn't rule out takers on the B733s
A319/A320/A321/A388/B737/B738/B744/B752/B772/E190/F70
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:30 am

MADPYRO wrote:
bennett123 wrote:
https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Baltic.htm

The remaining B737 average over 20 years and the DHC8 8 years.

I suspect that the latter may find takers, but the former will be Coke cans.


Some of their former B733s and 735s have found new homes, most recently the 735s...

I wouldn't rule out takers on the B733s

How many cycles & hours do the 733 have? With so many aircraft available, buyers will buy newer today.

Will the Turboprops find a ready market? I ask as everything is subject to a cascade market during a sudden over-supply.

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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:36 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Several posts noted the severity of the crisis, this I understand. I've been in the non-aviation Coronavirus to thread for months. What my point us that AirBaltic is pursuing a single type strategy that precludes any notion of serving a V recovery, which I consider unlikely.


United has said that it, too, is no longer planning for a V recovery. There certainly are examples of successful single-carrier types. Dumping the Dashes may kill thin routes. (They won't get enough people to fill an A220 at decent fares; they might reduce frequency and that kills business demand and that kills avg fares). What AirBaltic thinks it's going to save in pilot efficiencies and parts/maintenance suggests to them it's worth it.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:41 pm

cedarjet wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
We won't be down forever. My first two friends to catch Coronavirus return to normal life this weekend (two tests negative). This is scary, but overall death rates are down, way down:

https://twitter.com/attachedstring/stat ... 62464?s=19

We might not be down forever, but quoting one person on twitter does not an argument make. The US alone is going to lose half a million people because of this thing. Death rates are way down? Dude it’s a vertical line right now — up.

Deaths in the US is predicted to be between 100,000 and 240,000 people.

Death rate is down as the increase in people detected is much greater (proportionally) than the increase in death.
lightsaber said "death rate", not "number of dead".
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:46 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Several posts noted the severity of the crisis, this I understand. I've been in the non-aviation Coronavirus to thread for months. What my point us that AirBaltic is pursuing a single type strategy that precludes any notion of serving a V recovery, which I consider unlikely.


United has said that it, too, is no longer planning for a V recovery. There certainly are examples of successful single-carrier types. Dumping the Dashes may kill thin routes. (They won't get enough people to fill an A220 at decent fares; they might reduce frequency and that kills business demand and that kills avg fares). What AirBaltic thinks it's going to save in pilot efficiencies and parts/maintenance suggests to them it's worth it.

Unfortunately, I believe efficiency (such as pilots and parts as you noted) are the only way to maintain a viable airline.

The airlines that adapt slowly or insufficiently won't survive. Going from 38 to 22 aircraft is a start.

AirBaltic was already planning to retire the 12 Q400s in 3 years (ish, per Wikipedia). I do agree they will lose frequency and thus the high yield "I must fly now" traveller (typically a business traveler).

However, they were far too small an airline to fly 3 types.

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Blerg
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:48 pm

lightsaber wrote:
MADPYRO wrote:
bennett123 wrote:
https://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Baltic.htm

The remaining B737 average over 20 years and the DHC8 8 years.

I suspect that the latter may find takers, but the former will be Coke cans.


Some of their former B733s and 735s have found new homes, most recently the 735s...

I wouldn't rule out takers on the B733s

How many cycles & hours do the 733 have? With so many aircraft available, buyers will buy newer today.

Will the Turboprops find a ready market? I ask as everything is subject to a cascade market during a sudden over-supply.

Lightsaber


Actually I am also curious about the Q400s because Austrian Airlines has started retiring them. There will be quite a few Q400s out there soon.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:25 pm

https://www.planespotters.net/airline/Flybe

Flybe has also recently parked 54.
 
konkret
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:10 pm

They had a plan to streamline their fleet to just A220’s long before COVID-19. I guess they did their math whether to keep the Q400’s or not
Last edited by konkret on Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
olle
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:15 pm

If lockdown continues until 60% Of population is immune or is vaccinated we talk travel restrictions of 12 to 18 month... Many carriers will need to adjust business models.
 
Sokes
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:20 pm

I will never understand how an airline (or at least flag carrier) can have only one type.
Do they intend to switch A220-300 for A220-100?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:31 pm

The thread didn't make much sense to me at first. Why keep expensive aircraft with big payments in a time of crisis, why not fall back to older paid for aircraft till you have a feel for the recovery.

Then I read:

The airline's primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 80.05% of the stock, while Danish businessman Lars Thuesen holds around 20% through

Ahh, they have a mouth full of governmental teat, that explains it all.
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:45 pm

Sokes wrote:
I will never understand how an airline (or at least flag carrier) can have only one type.
Do they intend to switch A220-300 for A220-100?

Only one type... How is that working out for Ryanair?
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Blerg
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:19 pm

hilram wrote:
Sokes wrote:
I will never understand how an airline (or at least flag carrier) can have only one type.
Do they intend to switch A220-300 for A220-100?

Only one type... How is that working out for Ryanair?


Well, you can't really compare the two since their business models are completely different. I fear that many destinations in BT's network might become unviable with a much larger aircraft now.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
The thread didn't make much sense to me at first. Why keep expensive aircraft with big payments in a time of crisis, why not fall back to older paid for aircraft till you have a feel for the recovery.

Then I read:

The airline's primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 80.05% of the stock, while Danish businessman Lars Thuesen holds around 20% through

Ahh, they have a mouth full of governmental teat, that explains it all.


The Latvian government can plan for medium-term recovery and a long-term viable airline. Carriers reliant on equity markets and commercial debt (a list that gets shorter by the day) may not have that luxury.

I won't argue virtues of market discipline vs. state ownership here. These are extraordinary times.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:44 pm

Blerg wrote:
hilram wrote:
Sokes wrote:
I will never understand how an airline (or at least flag carrier) can have only one type.
Do they intend to switch A220-300 for A220-100?

Only one type... How is that working out for Ryanair?


Well, you can't really compare the two since their business models are completely different. I fear that many destinations in BT's network might become unviable with a much larger aircraft now.


Probably so. They can adapt the network to fit a streamlined fleet (see Southwest), or operated fragmented fleets to fit somebody's idea of the 'right' network. See the many, many annual losses of Sabena for an example of the latter. For the long-term - like Lightsaber - I'll bet on efficiency.
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:59 pm

"airBaltic, legally incorporated as AS Air Baltic Corporation, is the flag carrier of Latvia, with its head office on the grounds of Riga International Airport in Mārupe municipality near Riga.[3] Its hub is at Riga International Airport with further bases at Tallinn Airport and Vilnius Airport."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirBaltic

Riga int. airport: 7,8 mio pass in 2019 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riga_Inte ... al_Airport
Riga city: 633.000 inhabitants https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riga
Tallin airport: 3,3 mio pass 2019 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallinn_Airport
Tallin: 435.000 inhabitants
Vilnius airport: 5 mio pass 2019 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilnius_Airport
Vilnius city: 580.000 inhabitants https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilnius

I believe they need small planes. Obviously I'm mistaken, but I still don't see why.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
Blerg
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:09 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Blerg wrote:
hilram wrote:
Only one type... How is that working out for Ryanair?


Well, you can't really compare the two since their business models are completely different. I fear that many destinations in BT's network might become unviable with a much larger aircraft now.


Probably so. They can adapt the network to fit a streamlined fleet (see Southwest), or operated fragmented fleets to fit somebody's idea of the 'right' network. See the many, many annual losses of Sabena for an example of the latter. For the long-term - like Lightsaber - I'll bet on efficiency.


One way forward is to reduce frequencies especially to markets that are not that large. They fly to many secondary markets in the region, how will they keep on operating there with a much larger aircraft. I think that down the line they will bring back a smaller aircraft. After all, they always had a smaller, regional jet in their fleet. It's a necessity given that both the Baltic and Nordic regions are not densely populated areas.
 
baje427
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:49 pm

I would imagine this makes the viability of the Q400 even more precarious.
 
michael478
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:10 pm

Revelation wrote:
Ahh, they have a mouth full of governmental teat, that explains it all.


So do many companies. Especially boeing. Are u saying this leads to bad decision making?
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:31 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Blerg wrote:
hilram wrote:
Only one type... How is that working out for Ryanair?


Well, you can't really compare the two since their business models are completely different. I fear that many destinations in BT's network might become unviable with a much larger aircraft now.


Probably so. They can adapt the network to fit a streamlined fleet (see Southwest), or operated fragmented fleets to fit somebody's idea of the 'right' network. See the many, many annual losses of Sabena for an example of the latter. For the long-term - like Lightsaber - I'll bet on efficiency.

I'm a huge fan of efficient operations. Many airlines are grasping the advantage of dynamic allocation afforded by all bookings done by software.

The initial 20 A223s would have been relatively low cost purchases. Thus they can be flown at lower duty at break even. Dropping 12 aircraft allows redistributing on need.

I understand business prefers frequency. But business also prefers direct flights. I used to scoff at Allegiant's 2x or 3x per week flights until I saw one that worked perfectly for me. I was planning my summer around that 2x/week flight (obviously no more). I bet AirBaltic knows their market well enough to pull that off.

Obviously not every market will tolerate that level of service. Oh well, that is why they are suddenly opperating fewer aircraft.

I don't get questioning one aircraft type, in particular for a small airline. We've seen the model work for:
SouthWest
Ryanair
JetBlue
Easyjet
Indigo
AirAsia
Spirit
Wizz
Volotea

I'm sure I missed dozens, please add your favorite.

By my math, the minimum efficient 2nd fleet requires 17+ aircraft (unless we're talking a shrink or stretch). In other words, AirBaltic wasn't yet large enough to opperate multiple types. But the economy was great, way back in January... So it temporarily worked.

Now efficiency must be brutal.
Also, why another type? AirBaltic connected at AUH.

Maybe it is because I fly as three different types of passenger. Sometimes I'm that high yield business traveler. Sometimes I'm that leisure traveler who pays more to fly when and how I want to. Sometimes I'm the backpack traveler only willing to fly cheap.

AirBaltic was planning all A220 anyway. So they already tabletoped that concept. This is a 3+ year early execution, on a smaller scale.

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Pylos
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:25 pm

For some reason I believed the 737s were already gone late last year (as per the info about the retirement schedule here: https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/ai ... -nov-2019/)

Then I remembered having read something about them keeping some of the birds into 2020 on some "just in case we need them" basis.

Does anybody happen to know when the last AirBaltic 737 flight occurred?
 
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:28 pm

Blerg wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
MADPYRO wrote:

Some of their former B733s and 735s have found new homes, most recently the 735s...

I wouldn't rule out takers on the B733s

How many cycles & hours do the 733 have? With so many aircraft available, buyers will buy newer today.

Will the Turboprops find a ready market? I ask as everything is subject to a cascade market during a sudden over-supply.

Lightsaber


Actually I am also curious about the Q400s because Austrian Airlines has started retiring them. There will be quite a few Q400s out there soon.


Flybe, Air Baltic, Austrian, LGW. There gonna be 100+ used Q400 frame available on the Market.
 
Jomar777
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:39 pm

It was expected - they had plans to move towards a A220 only in the coming years and COVID-19 only accelerated this. Look at BA also - you may safely bet that several of those B744s will not return to the sky too. Same with other airlines.

They might even consider deferring the delivery of their future A220s depending on how long this continues as well as how do they perform after COVID-19.

Again: I keep hearing about all those issues with A220 engines but precise data of the impact this is having on the Airlines operating the frame and impact on future orders from those and new prospective customers is really shady. I would for now discard to a certain extent the issues reported on A220 engines until a more broad report and positioning is heard of.
 
9252fly
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:51 pm

Jomar777 wrote:
It was expected - they had plans to move towards a A220 only in the coming years and COVID-19 only accelerated this. Look at BA also - you may safely bet that several of those B744s will not return to the sky too. Same with other airlines.

They might even consider deferring the delivery of their future A220s depending on how long this continues as well as how do they perform after COVID-19.

Again: I keep hearing about all those issues with A220 engines but precise data of the impact this is having on the Airlines operating the frame and impact on future orders from those and new prospective customers is really shady. I would for now discard to a certain extent the issues reported on A220 engines until a more broad report and positioning is heard of.


If you've been following the issues with the engines on the A220, you somehow missed the software upgrade that was recently issued to operators. Seems the previous software versions were causing premature engine failures. P&W still needs to make further improvements though.
 
Aither
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:00 pm

Baltic countries are extremely dependant of aviation. They will of what it takes to bring flights back.
Never trust the obvious
 
codc10
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:32 am

I had to do a triple-take at FRA a few weeks ago when an AirBaltic 733 taxied by. The CFM56-3, short winglets and stumpy wings were giveaways... I didn't know any were left flying pax in the EU! Not surprising to see them going away, despite being newer than a number of 737NGs flying around!
 
TEALflyer
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:42 am

Aither wrote:
Baltic countries are extremely dependant of aviation. They will of what it takes to bring flights back.


Currently, the Baltics are dependant on aviation for passenger access. The only other option really being ferry to/from Scandinavian countries.

However, I’m sure Air Baltic are keeping an eye on passenger rail developments in the region, particularly the Rail Baltica project.
( http://www.railbaltica.org and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_Baltica )
 
Blerg
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:44 am

codc10 wrote:
I had to do a triple-take at FRA a few weeks ago when an AirBaltic 733 taxied by. The CFM56-3, short winglets and stumpy wings were giveaways... I didn't know any were left flying pax in the EU! Not surprising to see them going away, despite being newer than a number of 737NGs flying around!


There are several airlines in Europe that still operate the B733, some of them include Air Serbia (Aviolet), Belavia and Tarom. LO only recently (a few weeks ago) grounded their last B734. Funnily enough, Air Italy leased a Bulgarian B733 before the end to compensate for the grounding of their MAX fleet.

Back to the topic at hand, I still think this will backfire. I think they will either have to cut many frequencies or they will have to bring back a smaller aircraft. I mean they fly to places like Palanga, Liepaja, Turku, Kaliningrad, Tartu, Kaunas... though I have a feeling some of these might be receiving government, state or city subsidies.
 
MHG
Posts: 937
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:33 am

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:24 am

Blerg wrote:
codc10 wrote:
I had to do a triple-take at FRA a few weeks ago when an AirBaltic 733 taxied by. The CFM56-3, short winglets and stumpy wings were giveaways... I didn't know any were left flying pax in the EU! Not surprising to see them going away, despite being newer than a number of 737NGs flying around!


There are several airlines in Europe that still operate the B733, some of them include Air Serbia (Aviolet), Belavia and Tarom. LO only recently (a few weeks ago) grounded their last B734. Funnily enough, Air Italy leased a Bulgarian B733 before the end to compensate for the grounding of their MAX fleet.

Back to the topic at hand, I still think this will backfire. I think they will either have to cut many frequencies or they will have to bring back a smaller aircraft. I mean they fly to places like Palanga, Liepaja, Turku, Kaliningrad, Tartu, Kaunas... though I have a feeling some of these might be receiving government, state or city subsidies.

I´d rather expect them to outsource a few short distance (< 300 mi) routes to other operators with suitable aircraft or even arrange the transfer of a few DH4.
("why not negotiate something with Transaviabaltica" ???)
Something along the line of the former flyBE/Loganair franchise.
I do see BT cutting a number of routes while switching completely to the A220 as well as reducing frequencies which will work on some routes.
Their network seems to have a growing tendency towards longer routes where the DH4 wouldn´t be great anyway (both economically and passenger comfort wise).
Flying is not inherently dangerous but it is very unforgiving in case of carelessness, incapacity or neglect.
 
Sokes
Posts: 1674
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:27 am

lightsaber wrote:
By my math, the minimum efficient 2nd fleet requires 17+ aircraft (unless we're talking a shrink or stretch). In other words, AirBaltic wasn't yet large enough to opperate multiple types. But the economy was great, way back in January... So it temporarily worked.

Not that I'm qualified to judge, but I would assume that 100 A220 and one E175-E2 makes less sense than 10 A220 and five E175.
In other words, at least how many planes does a subfleet require to make it worth to store spares, train mechanics and pilots, ...

Your point of not flying daily makes sense, but still surprises me. From earlier discussions here on a-net I had the impression that airlines would rather have two flights a day in a smaller plane than one flight/ day in a bigger plane.
Evidence suggests I'm wrong. I'm just saying.
Maybe Baltic states are not yet wealthy enough for such extravagance. Can it be related to pilot shortage?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
Blerg
Posts: 4086
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:42 am

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:20 am

MHG wrote:
Blerg wrote:
codc10 wrote:
I had to do a triple-take at FRA a few weeks ago when an AirBaltic 733 taxied by. The CFM56-3, short winglets and stumpy wings were giveaways... I didn't know any were left flying pax in the EU! Not surprising to see them going away, despite being newer than a number of 737NGs flying around!


There are several airlines in Europe that still operate the B733, some of them include Air Serbia (Aviolet), Belavia and Tarom. LO only recently (a few weeks ago) grounded their last B734. Funnily enough, Air Italy leased a Bulgarian B733 before the end to compensate for the grounding of their MAX fleet.

Back to the topic at hand, I still think this will backfire. I think they will either have to cut many frequencies or they will have to bring back a smaller aircraft. I mean they fly to places like Palanga, Liepaja, Turku, Kaliningrad, Tartu, Kaunas... though I have a feeling some of these might be receiving government, state or city subsidies.

I´d rather expect them to outsource a few short distance (< 300 mi) routes to other operators with suitable aircraft or even arrange the transfer of a few DH4.
("why not negotiate something with Transaviabaltica" ???)
Something along the line of the former flyBE/Loganair franchise.
I do see BT cutting a number of routes while switching completely to the A220 as well as reducing frequencies which will work on some routes.
Their network seems to have a growing tendency towards longer routes where the DH4 wouldn´t be great anyway (both economically and passenger comfort wise).


Yes but there are many routes where they used to deploy the Q400. Now that A220 will be taking over, not only will they have more seats but also higher costs. So they will have two things they will need to work around. It's one thing when the A220 replaces the B735/733 but another when it's the Q400.

I guess time will tell what will become of their strategy. Their financial performance in H1 2019 isn't making me overly optimistic.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 8103
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:00 pm

Sokes wrote:
Your point of not flying daily makes sense, but still surprises me. From earlier discussions here on a-net I had the impression that airlines would rather have two flights a day in a smaller plane than one flight/ day in a bigger plane.
Evidence suggests I'm wrong. I'm just saying.
Maybe Baltic states are not yet wealthy enough for such extravagance. Can it be related to pilot shortage?


Frequency has value for big O&D markets where carriers are competing against other carriers for business passengers seeking to fly the 'right' time of day. Frequency has value with hubs where the name of the game is connectivity, both keeping connection times reasonably short and by maximizing number of airport pairs served. Riga isn't going to be a hub competing with AMS, FRA (or even HEL).

AirBaltic may get away with 1x daily in business markets where they can operate 5+ days a week. 2x or 3x a week to leisure destinations may be sufficient.

Without Q400s they will, surely, shrink the destination count. Count the U.S. destinations of Southwest, the nation's 2nd largest domestic carrier in RPMs and smallest plane a 143-seat 737-700, vs. AA/DL/UA, all of which through affiliate carriers have at least 100 50-seat CR2/E145 and hundreds of 70/76 seat E75/CR7/CR9. Not even close! WN's route map fits the fleet. AirBaltic is headed down the same path.
 
Jomar777
Posts: 556
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:45 am

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:44 pm

9252fly wrote:
Jomar777 wrote:
It was expected - they had plans to move towards a A220 only in the coming years and COVID-19 only accelerated this. Look at BA also - you may safely bet that several of those B744s will not return to the sky too. Same with other airlines.

They might even consider deferring the delivery of their future A220s depending on how long this continues as well as how do they perform after COVID-19.

Again: I keep hearing about all those issues with A220 engines but precise data of the impact this is having on the Airlines operating the frame and impact on future orders from those and new prospective customers is really shady. I would for now discard to a certain extent the issues reported on A220 engines until a more broad report and positioning is heard of.


If you've been following the issues with the engines on the A220, you somehow missed the software upgrade that was recently issued to operators. Seems the previous software versions were causing premature engine failures. P&W still needs to make further improvements though.


I followed but only saw most of it here on A.net and the issue was never fully developed. But if, as you say, a software fix was provided and cleared the problem, then this is a NO ISSUE, meaning that we can remove this factor out of the question on the assumption that the aircraft carries no fault.

Then, BT's approach to move towards a full A220 fleet now is plain feasible, as I said :-)
 
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lightsaber
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Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:03 pm

Sokes wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
By my math, the minimum efficient 2nd fleet requires 17+ aircraft (unless we're talking a shrink or stretch). In other words, AirBaltic wasn't yet large enough to opperate multiple types. But the economy was great, way back in January... So it temporarily worked.

Not that I'm qualified to judge, but I would assume that 100 A220 and one E175-E2 makes less sense than 10 A220 and five E175.
In other words, at least how many planes does a subfleet require to make it worth to store spares, train mechanics and pilots, ...

Your point of not flying daily makes sense, but still surprises me. From earlier discussions here on a-net I had the impression that airlines would rather have two flights a day in a smaller plane than one flight/ day in a bigger plane.
Evidence suggests I'm wrong. I'm just saying.
Maybe Baltic states are not yet wealthy enough for such extravagance. Can it be related to pilot shortage?

The more frequency, the better the yield. There is just a cost/benefit.

As I noted, 17 is my calculation of a minimum subfleet including pilot/crew training, spares, line maintenance, and maintenance checks. However, if the airline has a notable off season when aircraft may be parked or maintained, the minimum economical subfleet is reduced.

As others noted, AirBaltic was on this path to a single type anyway. This is just 3 years early.

Lightsaber
Winter is coming.
 
Sokes
Posts: 1674
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:14 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Frequency has value for big O&D markets where carriers are competing against other carriers for business passengers seeking to fly the 'right' time of day. Frequency has value with hubs where the name of the game is connectivity, both keeping connection times reasonably short and by maximizing number of airport pairs served. Riga isn't going to be a hub competing with AMS, FRA (or even HEL).

AirBaltic may get away with 1x daily in business markets where they can operate 5+ days a week. 2x or 3x a week to leisure destinations may be sufficient.

Without Q400s they will, surely, shrink the destination count. Count the U.S. destinations of Southwest, the nation's 2nd largest domestic carrier in RPMs and smallest plane a 143-seat 737-700, vs. AA/DL/UA, all of which through affiliate carriers have at least 100 50-seat CR2/E145 and hundreds of 70/76 seat E75/CR7/CR9. Not even close! WN's route map fits the fleet. AirBaltic is headed down the same path.


That frequency is most important to hubs makes sense. I learned something.

Lithuania: 2,8 mio population
Latvia: 1,9 mio
Estonia: 1,3 mio
On average 35 people/ sqkm. Germany is 240 people/ sqkm, France 117 people/ sqkm.
These six million people are served by three airports which are not so close as to have one airport and good rail connection.

Have a look:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_a ... stinations

I can't imagine that all destinations require 145 seats. I see two option:
Option 1:
I wonder if aviation in Baltic states should have free market/ competition? It looks like a technical monopoly to me. European politicians should agree that only Air Baltic serves the Baltic states. In exchange it has to be a 100% government owned airline that receives subsidies to maintain reasonable connections.

Option 2:
What about A321s that shuttle between the three airports and Warsaw? In exchange Poland gives some subsidy. Flights from Warsaw can upgrade from A320/ B787-800 to A321s.
I believe direct flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt and some other places are needed. I don't know which connections are needed.
Holiday charters should also be o.k direct. Everything else via Warsaw.
Or should flights which don't go to Warsaw be operated by BA, Air France, Lufthansa ...? After all, they have to integrate customers into their hub.

These are all assumptions based on Wikipedia knowledge.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
oslmgm
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:29 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:25 pm

Sokes wrote:
(...)
I believe direct flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt and some other places are needed. I don't know which connections are needed.
Holiday charters should also be o.k direct. Everything else via Warsaw.
Or should flights which don't go to Warsaw be operated by BA, Air France, Lufthansa ...? After all, they have to integrate customers into their hub.

These are all assumptions based on Wikipedia knowledge.

Your post didn't make much sense to me. The destinations you mention are served by multiple carriers from Riga:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riga_Inte ... stinations
 
Sokes
Posts: 1674
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pm

lightsaber wrote:
As I noted, 17 is my calculation of a minimum subfleet...

My bad. I read too fast. You did write "2nd fleet", I read "fleet".
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
Sokes
Posts: 1674
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: AirBaltic going all Airbus A220 - smaller carrier

Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:43 pm

oslmgm wrote:
Your post didn't make much sense to me. The destinations you mention are served by multiple carriers from Riga:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riga_Inte ... stinations


You are right. How can so few people distributed over three airports have so many connection?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

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