“I’ve been with this industry through several crises, and we’ll get through this one as well. The only question is what and how things will be afterwards. But we have the opportunity to develop that ‘afterwards’ by being ready to grow out of it. That’s what I’m doing now.”

Read the full interview with our CEO Martin Gauss

Making memories

Over the past two and a half decades, airBaltic has grown from a small airline into an inspiring role model for the industry. Here are some of the most significant milestones in the company’s history.

1995 October

The airline is established in the early autumn of 1995 with the signing of a joint venture between the Latvian state and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). On October 1, airBaltic operates its first commercial flight, from Riga to Stockholm, with the Saab SF340 aircraft, which has just 33 seats.

1997 April

airBaltic opens the Cargo Department.

1998 November

The airline’s first Fokker 50 arrives in Riga. A fleet of such aircraft faithfully serves airBaltic for the next 15 years

1999 March

The first issue of airBaltic’s inflight magazine Baltic Outlook is published.

2000 January

For several years, airBaltic’s fleet consists of three Avro RJ70 and three Fokker 50 aircraft.

2001 June

airBaltic carries its one millionth passenger.

2002 April

In addition to being well connected with SAS and offering multiple flights per day to Copenhagen and Stockholm, airBaltic opens direct routes from Riga to eight destinations in eastern and western Europe.

2003 April

airBaltic launches ticket sales from its website via the internet.

2003 November

The first Boeing 737-500 is introduced into the airBaltic fleet and operations.

2004 May

Latvia joins the European Union and, thanks to the Open Skies policy, airBaltic is free to fly within Europe.

2004 June

airBaltic begins direct flights from Vilnius to 11 European destinations and serves 27 routes from Riga.

2004 October

airBaltic introduces a new corporate livery, which consists of an all-white fuselage and lime-green tailfin with the name ‘Baltic’ on it.

2005 December

For the first time in its history, airBaltic carries more than one million passengers in a single year.

2007 July

airBaltic launches its online check-in system. This is the first online check-in system in the Baltic states.

2007 September

airBaltic begins training Boeing 737 pilots in a simulator at its home base in Riga.

2007 October

airBaltic launches the e-voucher – the first prepaid airline ticket in northern Europe to be sold in supermarkets.

2008 December

airBaltic opens an office in Tallinn, which is its tenth office. The airline also has offices in Riga (two), Vilnius, Klaipeda, Berlin, Kyiv, Minsk, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg.

2009 January

airBaltic management purchases the SAS shares in the airline.

2009 October

airBaltic launches its very own frequent flyer programme, BalticMiles. By partnering with leading banking, telecommunications, hospitality, travel, transport, and entertainment companies, it is the first pan-Baltic loyalty programme.

2010 February

airBaltic opens the airBaltic Training Centre in Riga. It is one of the largest and most modern aviation training facilities in central and eastern Europe.

2010 February

For the first time in history, a self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci takes a flight. The so-called Lucan portrait travels on airBaltic from Rome via Riga to Tallinn.

2010 June

airBaltic becomes the first airline in the world to sell roses 11 kilometres up in the sky.

2010 December

For the first time in its history, the airline’s annual number of passengers exceeds three million.

2011 November

The airBaltic supervisory board appoints Martin Gauss as the new CEO.

2011 December

airBaltic becomes the world’s first airline to sell cars on board.

2011 December

The Latvian government increases its shareholding in airBaltic to 99.8%, and airBaltic becomes a true national airline of Latvia.

2012 January

airBaltic is recognised as the top employer in Latvia.

2013 December

airBaltic celebrates 100,000 Facebook followers.

2014 February

airBaltic operates a special flight from Riga to the Winter Olympics in Sochi with Latvian and Lithuanian athletes on board. The teams depart on a Boeing 737-500 specially painted with Olympic livery.

2014 July

airBaltic becomes the world’s first airline to accept Bitcoin as a payment option.

2014 July

airBaltic pilots go green with iPads. This saves about two million sheets of paper every year

2015 January

For the first time, an OAG industry report rates airBaltic the world’s most punctual airline.

2016 February

airBaltic is awarded a gold medal by ISPY for the quality of its cabin service

2016 November

airBaltic welcomes the world’s first Bombardier CS300 (now Airbus A220-300) in Riga, becoming the global launch customer for this aircraft.

2016 December

airBaltic launches a legendary Christmas greeting video with its new Bombardier CS300 aircraft performing The Nutcracker ballet, reaching all-time record engagement on social media.

2017 July

airBaltic sets a new world record for turnaround as its newest Bombardier CS300 takes its first commercial flight only 50 minutes after delivery from Canada.

2017 December

The airBaltic Training Pilot Academy begins accepting applications to train a new generation of pilots from the Baltic states.

2018 September

airBaltic is the official air carrier for Pope Francis and the papal delegation during their official visit to the Baltic states.

2018 November

airBaltic presents a gift to Latvia on its centenary – a special livery for Airbus A220-300 aircraft. On November 18, the plane takes part in the parade in honour of Latvia’s centenary.

2019 August

airBaltic honours the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way with a special gift – three aircraft painted in national liveries and a song dedicated to the event.

2019 September

airBaltic becomes the first airline to obtain full-scope maintenance capability for Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

2019 October

airBaltic regularly participates in various air shows, and in autumn of 2019 it takes its Airbus A220-300 on a tour around the Pacific region, visiting Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea.

2019 December

airBaltic presents its Airbus A220 full flight simulator.

2019 December

airBaltic carries more than five million passengers in 2019, or 22% more than the year before. This is the highest number of passengers carried in a single year in the airline’s history.

2020 March

airBaltic Training opens a new hangar in Liepāja, Latvia. Students from the airBaltic Pilot Academy have been training in Liepāja already since the summer of 2018.

2020 May

airBaltic becomes the first European airline to hand every customer on every flight an envelope containing a face mask and two disinfectant wipes.

2020 May

airBaltic begins operating a single-type fleet consisting only of the modern Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

2020 October

airBaltic opens a new educational programme for its staff – airBaltic Leaders for Future (ALFA) provides a solid foundation for airBaltic’s future development and growth through excellent leadership.

Proud to fly the new Airbus A220-300

airBaltic’s fleet is rapidly and continually undergoing modernisation, and it now consists of only the world’s greenest commercial aircraft – the Airbus A220-300. At the end of this year the airline will receive its 25th jet, which will mean that half of its order from Airbus will be fulfilled. Check out these amazing facts about your plane.

airBaltic’s fleet is rapidly and continually undergoing modernisation, and it now consists of only the world’s greenest commercial aircraft – the Airbus A220-300. At the end of this year the airline will receive its 25th jet, which will mean that half of its order from Airbus will be fulfilled. Check out these amazing facts about your plane.

Baltics special liveries

airBaltic has one of the most modern fleets flying across Europe. Three of its aircraft have been repainted in special liveries to reflect the unique DNA of airBaltic and the Baltics.

Read more
First flight: June 29, 2019, to London
Number of flights till October, 2020: 1374
Number of destinations: 57
Kilometres flown till October, 2020: 1 796 022
Registration number: YL-CSJ
First flight: November 10, 2018, to Munich
Number of flights till October, 2020: 2249
Number of destinations: 64
Kilometres flown till October, 2020: 3 243 341
Registration number: YL-CSL
First flight: August 8, 2019,to Moscow
Number of flights till October, 2020: 1171
Number of destinations: 57
Kilometres flown till October, 2020: 1 540 942
Registration number: YL-CSK

25 years with airBaltic

There are eight people who have worked at airBaltic since the very beginning – 25 years. We encouraged them to come out of their offices and flight decks for a small, family-like gathering.

ĀRIJS AKIMOVS

Captain

“At first, we were only four pilots and it was very challenging and interesting to build the company starting from zero. To write all the manuals and implement procedures in accordance with regulations, but still in our own way, the airBaltic way. I appreciate the opportunity to work and fly from my home country and that’s also what I’ve gained the most.”

SVETLANA ABAŠKINA

Vice President, Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs

“Establishing a wide network of contacts with people from different countries and cultures has been the biggest advantage. Working at airBaltic, I have been privileged to explore new ideas in different areas of the airline business and see how the realisation of them helped the company to progress to becoming the leading airline in the Baltic region. This brings a huge sense of satisfaction.”

IRĒNA ČĒMA

Senior Revenue Accountant

“The company at which I began working 25 years ago has grown and changed, It has become a noteworthy, international company, and just witnessing that growth has been a high point. Also for myself, because that growth has given me a broader vision and broader knowledge, which, although very specific, is highly valued in the industry and in the field of international business.”

PAULS CĀLĪTIS

Chief Operations Officer

“People usually join the company at some point and see its development only from that point onward, but I’m lucky to have been here from the very beginning. Besides, working for one and the same company for 25 years is very rare nowadays. But that has given me a different perspective on what this airline and my colleagues mean to me.”

VLADIMIRS ŠČOGOĻS

Captain

“I’ve flown almost my whole life, and I’ve always loved flying. I’ve never perceived it as just a job I have to do. I go to briefings to talk with my friends, and I head to the aircraft with joy. When flying with a good team, I don’t even feel tired afterwards and I return home in a good mood. When you’ve worked abroad, you no longer have the feeling that things are better elsewhere. Because things are good here.”

JEĻENA GRIGORJEVA-BĀRENE

Technical Coordinator

“I’ve learned to find the right solution and remain calm in stressful situations.” She began working at airBaltic 25 years ago as a flight attendant. She later graduated from college with a degree in public relations management but has not worked a single day in this profession. “I really like flying, and I continue to do so.”

IRĪNA PIĻIPENKO

Area Sales Manager

She emphasises that her greatest benefit from working with the airline has been learning to adapt to circumstances, to change with the times, and to seek out opportunities to develop herself not only professionally but also personally. “That teaches you to react faster and better. To better fit in with the flow of time and trends. To move along with the times,” she explains.

EVA PLAKANE

Senior Vice President, Revenue Management

“This company has also given me the opportunity to develop myself as a personality. I’m a leader by nature, and here I’ve been able to realise and develop that trait. For me, my work is definitely not simply work. It’s a very significant part of my life.”

The airBaltic family

The people we meet on board the aircraft – our flight attendants – are only a small part of the airBaltic “house”. The airline consists of the President’s Office and several departments, each important in its own right and also important in collaboration with other departments in order to ensure flawless operations at airBaltic.

The Flight Operations department includes all the pilots and cabin crew members as well as the training and flight support divisions. It is the largest department at airBaltic, and its main goal is to ensure the safety and security of flight operations, crew planning, and compliance with company standards and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requirements as well as other applicable regulations. This department is also responsible for ensuring that all personnel within Flight Operations are trained and qualified to reliably do their jobs with respect to safety, punctuality, and service.

Did you know?
The Flight Support division also has a Fuel Efficiency Analyst, whose job is to manage, develop, and configure fuel efficiency software as well as to conduct data analysis and detect fuel consumption trends, monitor existing efficiency initiatives, and identify and implement new initiatives.

The Engineering Division is responsible for ensuring airworthiness and providing engineering support to the Technical Department. It maintains and safely stores all of the technical manuals, instructions, and adaptations of all maintenance instructions revised and updated within airBaltic.

Did you know?
An avionics engineer conducts research to address manufacturers regarding problems associated with flight safety systems, landing gear, and electronic navigation systems.

Ground Operations Department issues aircraft electronic weight and balance documents, deals with dangerous goods and aircraft handling procedures, and subcontracts ground handling companies that apply airBaltic’s requirements at all destinations. Among other things, they organise and monitor safe passenger, baggage, and cargo handling; aircraft handling on the ramp; marshalling; aircraft loading and offloading; mass and balance reporting; post-flight documentation storage; de-icing; and aircraft preparation for planned and safe departures and arrivals.

Did you know?
The Load Control Coordinator ensures that cargo loads are distributed in the aircraft in such a way that the aircraft can be maintained at the correct pitch (angle) for a safe and efficient flight.

The Commercial Department consists of five divisions – Network Planning, Revenue Management, Sales, Marketing, and E-Commerce – each of which works towards the main goal of generating revenue for the company. It also works on strengthening the airBaltic brand, improving its visibility, and generating revenue by finding new business opportunities. Marketing mainly focuses on innovative digital strategies combining targeted communication through direct channels with customer-centric search engine marketing and social media advertising. The Sales Division is responsible for business to business sales and maximizing the sales potential from travel agencies and corporate customers. The E-Commerce Division is responsible for flight tickets and extra services and sales on airBaltic.com. Its task is to offer customers the most convenient way to get their desired product or service.

Did you know?
airBaltic has several representatives working abroad: in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Estonia.

The team in the Revenue Management Division is at the heart of the company’s commercial function. It is designed to work on predicting demand in order to offer optimum prices to the passengers in each market and at any point in time. The division is also responsible for ancillary products management revenue. The team works in an international environment and also using sophisticated revenue management system tools.

Did you know?
The history of revenue management can be traced back to the 1980s, originating in the airline industry.

The main goal of the Corporate Communications Unit is to proactively maintain the relationship between airBaltic and society in order to support the company’s business and other goals as well as its reputation of being a reliable company. The unit organises, controls, and monitors all of airBaltic’s communication with the media, daily conversations, and content generation on the company’s social media accounts. It is also responsible for external and internal communication strategies and crisis communications directly related to reputation management.

Did you know?
A special unit produces content for airBaltic’s social media channels and provides full customer support. During the recent crisis caused by the pandemic, this team disseminated the newest company information, answered passenger inquiries on social media, and reassured the public that airBaltic is united with the whole aviation industry in building the new reality of air travel.

The Legal Affairs Unit provides management with efficient legal advice, strategies, and guidance on issues related to legislation.

Did you know?
This department is the airline’s legal representative in business negotiations and in court. It has also participated in the issuing of bonds and the legal process of purchasing aircraft.

The IT Department provides the infrastructure for the automation of various systems and processes. It covers a broad range of responsibilities, from helping employees when their ‘computer isn’t working’ and gathering and analysing data to answer questions such as ‘how many pets were transported last year’ to building and maintaining complex systems that support pilots and other employees in providing the best service to customers, improving their experiences and creating new ones.

Did you know?
airBaltic transported 7577 pets last year, according to information gathered by the IT Department.

airBaltic Cargo offers air freight shipments across Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. It is possible to ship valuables, pets and other items safe and sound. Our operations team provides customer service to clients and is responsible for daily operations – bookings, cargo handling, and flight planning. One of the operations team’s most important roles is to ensure strict standards for flight safety and security.

Did you know?
In 2019, airBaltic Cargo carried a record amount of cargo and mail – 14,800 tonnes, which was 21% more than the year before. This year, it organised the entire logistics chain for the delivery of face masks to Latvia following a request from its national health service to replenish critically low hospital reserves.

airBaltic Training, a subsidiary of airBaltic, offers a wide range of aviation training services – Pilot academy, flight crew, cabin crew, ground personnel and instructor. The modern and purpose-built airBaltic Training facility is equipped with an Airbus A220 Full Flight Simulator, a Boeing 737 Classic Full Flight Simulator (the world’s only one with UPRT and PBN certification), a Diamond DA 40/42 Fixed Based Simulator, a Multi-Purpose Cabin Trainer, A220 / B737 / F50 door trainers, and convenient, computerised classrooms.All airBaltic Training programmes adhere to EASA and ICAO regulations.

Did you know?
Last year, the airBaltic Training simulators were flown for a total of 9096 hours. (There were 8766 hours in the year 2019)

The Technical Department is the second-largest department at airBaltic and ensures that the aircraft are properly maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations and in compliance with the appropriate regulation authorities. This department carries out all maintenance, overhaul, repairs, and modifications on the aircraft fleet according to the respective requirements and specifications. Aircraft technicians carry out line and base maintenance activities on the airBaltic fleet.

Did you know?
The Continuous Airworthiness Review Manager is the person who checks whether an aircraft or one of its component parts meets its type design and is in proper condition for safe operation.

The Logistics Division is responsible for purchasing spare parts for aircraft. The purchasing unit makes sure that all materials purchased comply with current regulations and the best commercial conditions, while the warehouse is responsible for the safe storage of these materials according to the producers’ and the company’s requirements.

Did you know?
For the next aircraft check, the Procurement Division has already received 400 requests for spare parts. Each part must be located in the market, its price must be negotiated, and delivery to Riga needs to be arranged – all of which is done by the Logistics Department.

The Quality Department is responsible for monitoring regulated aviation activities and focusing on the systemic fulfilment of safety-critical aviation standards and airBaltic procedures at every stage of daily operations. This department interacts with operations personnel via a reporting platform and also performs activity-specific audits across the company, fleet, and network.

Did you know?
The Quality Department monitors every flight of airBaltic, analysing over 2600 parameters for each flight.

The main responsibility of the Network Planning Division is to develop and design the airBaltic route network and hub-bank structure according to the company’s strategy.

Did you know?
The Scheduling and Slot Manager is one of the most specialised occupations in the aviation industry. There is typically only one or a couple of scheduling and slot management experts at any airline.

The Customer Care Division is responsible for assessing customer needs and achieving customer satisfaction. The Customer Relations Unit evaluates complaints and recommendations and provides accurate and valid information. It includes the Call Centre and Airport Ticket Office.

Did you know?
airBaltic’s Call Centre currently has 112 employees devoted to helping our passengers.

The Human Resources Department makes sure that the company has, at all times, the right talent in place to most efficiently achieve its business and safety targets. It has developed multidimensional people management and engagement processes to navigate and satisfy very diverse workforce needs, motivations, and cultural differences.

Did you know?
The Sustainable Workplace Manager position was established to guide our workplace and related processes in an even more sustainable direction.

The Finance Control and Accounting Division is responsible for delivering qualitative financial information to the company’s stakeholders and ensuring that all finance operations proceed according to the respective tax legislation. The division ensures that all activities are accounted and reported in compliance with local and international regulations.

Did you know?
Over the years, 187 people have worked in this division. 15% of the 33 people currently working in it are named Ilze.

The Procurement and Administration Division is responsible for overseeing the company’s purchasing process and organising price inquiries. This pertains to products or services needed on a daily basis as well as procurement related to long-term local and international projects. The administration cares for all of the buildings and areas under the management of airBaltic – six buildings, for a total of 27,000 square metres of space. The administration also provides daily support to the airline’s employees. The uniform warehouse purchases and issues work clothing to all crew and technical staff, ensuring seasonally appropriate clothing and its replacement according to established company standards.

Did you know?
In 2016, this division planned and oversaw the move of airBaltic employees from seven different buildings to one new office building, known as the House of airBaltic. The actual move was completed in three days, without any disruption to normal operations at the airline.

Baltic Cargo Center is the largest airfreight handling company at Riga International Airport and serves as the Cargo HUB for airBaltic. Ever since it began its operations in 2001, the company has been offering a reliable, secure and professional service to airlines, forwarders and private persons. BCC is the first CAA-accredited, regulated agent in Latvia.

Did you know?
BCC operates in a cargo terminal with 1600sq/m of heated warehouse space and is capable of processing any type of airfreight.

airBaltic Club is a loyalty programme in which you can earn PINS loyalty points and collect stamps while travelling and receive various rewards. Members can earn PINS every time they fly airBaltic or use the services of many other travel and retail partners. Points can also be earned by using Booking.com, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, and Riga International Airport and Narvesen services, among others.
Jobs at airBaltic

Dress code

According to fashion experts, the best airlines choose a balance of retro styling and modern cuts to give their pilots and flight attendants the most glamorous and professional looks possible.

Read more

Your most-liked airBaltic social media post

With the help of various social media, airBaltic has reached 582% more clients over the past five years, while its virtual Facebook chatbot has served almost 22,000 clients. airBaltic stands out among its much bigger competitors in terms of, for example, its Facebook engagement rate, and it successfully fulfils its vision of clients buying flights after visiting its social media platforms.

1.

airBaltic’s ambassadors are to thank for some of the most beautiful photos posted on the airline’s Instagram account. For example, the most popular image since August 2019 – earning almost 30,000 hearts, or likes – is a picture taken by ambassador Olga Bogdanova on the Côte d’Azur in France.

2.

The second most popular photo on Instagram, with more than 20,000 likes, is Valentino Valkaj’s picture of the northern lights. This breathtaking natural phenomenon can be seen at several airBaltic destinations, including Finland and Iceland.

3.

And it is a photo taken in Iceland that takes third place, with more than 16,000 hearts. Taken by photographer Pavel Matveev, the image contains everything a traveller can dream of: Iceland’s spectacular nature, mighty mountains, and a warm drink.

Stockholm

In 1995 our first flight took off from Riga to Stockholm and it is still one of our busiest routes.

Now we fly to
more than
60 destinations
from all three
Baltic capitals

Book a flight

Now we fly to more than
60 destinations from all three Baltic capitals

Book a flight
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