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airBaltic logotype
airBaltic is the Latvian national airline, based in the capital of Latvia, Rīga. Its main base is Riga International Airport (RIX), with a secondary hub in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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One of the airBaltic planes (Photo: Etienne Jong, 2004)


The airline was established on 28 August 1995 with the signing of a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and the Latvian state. Operations started on 1 October 1995 with the arrival of the first Air Baltic aircraft, a Saab 340, at Riga, and that afternoon, the plane was making the first passenger flight for Air Baltic.

In 1996, the airline's first AVRO RJ70 was delivered; and Air Baltic joined SAS' frequent flier club as a partner. 1997 saw the opening of a cargo department, and in 1998, the airline's first Fokker 50 plane was delivered. The adopted livery was mainly white, with Air Baltic in blue on the forward fuselage, the 'B' logo being heavily stylised in blue checks. The blue checked pattern was repeated on the aircraft tailfin.

In 1999, Air Baltic became a joint stock company, and all their SAAB 340s were replaced by Fokker 50s. By September, the airline had began operating under the European Aviation Operating Standards, or JAR ops. Air Baltic welcomed the new millennium by introducing new uniforms and opening a cargo center at Riga's airport.

The first Boeing 737 joined the fleet in 2003, and on June 1 2004, Air Baltic launched services from the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, initially to five destinations. As of May 2005, it connects Vilnius with 11 European destinations.

In October 2004, Air Baltic rebranded as airBaltic, adopting a new corporate livery in the process.

Present day

As of May 2005, airBaltic flies from Riga to 25 cities around Europe. Their present livery consists of an all white fuselage and lime tailfin. is displayed on the forward upper fuselage, and simply Baltic is repeated in white on the lower part of the tailfin.

airBaltic has strong links with SAS Scandinavian which owns 47.2% of the airline (the Latvian state holds the remainder). It operates frequent flights to SAS hubs in Copenhagen and Stockholm. The airline boasts "Well connected with SAS" status and the airline's frequent flyer programme is SAS' EuroBonus scheme. Other products and services shared with SAS include co-ordinated timetabling and shared airport lounges.

Unlike its affiliated carrier, SAS, airBaltic is not a member of the Star Alliance or any other airline grouping, though this may change in the future if SAS successfully sponsors the carrier as a regional member. At the moment, however, codeshare agreements are in place with Spanair and Blue1, as well as a partnering agreement with German carrier Hapag-Lloyd Express.

airBaltic carried 589,288 passengers in 2004 and achieved an operating profit of 1.2m on a turnover of €73.4m.


airBaltic operates services to the following international scheduled destinations (at January 2005): Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dublin, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kiev, London, Milan, Minsk, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Vienna and Vilnius.


The airBaltic fleet consists of the following aircraft (at June 2005):

External links

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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