Friday, 26 October 2018

airBaltic sees passenger numbers rise as boss implies the British were too thick to understand what leaving the EU meant.

airBaltic has carried 3 168 893 or 18% more passengers during the first nine months of 2018 than in the same period last year according to the latest figures released by the Latvian airline.

The passenger numbers were also up for the month of September which saw 16% more people travel across its route network than in September 2017. It carried 398 846 on routes spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East. 

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “We are on our way to reach our target of carrying 4 million passengers in 2018. This winter we will continue to fly to such favoured destinations as Lisbon, Malaga, Madrid and Nice, which are very popular among our passengers. We can expect to see passenger growth also for the remainder of the year.”

During the first nine months of 2018 airBaltic has operated 42 294 flights and its average load factor on those flights was 77%. Last month the Latvian government owned and funded airline performed 5 108 flights with an average load factor of 79%.  The airline also seems to be improving with its 'on-time performance' in the first nine months of the year 87 out of 100 airBaltic flights left on time or within 15 minutes, in September that number rose to 90.

Boss Martin Gauss caused some consternation earlier this month when he entered the Brexit row by inferring that the British people were too thick to understand the question 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?' the first time around.  Gauss told aviation analyst Alex Macheras  “The UK should ask their people to vote on Brexit again — whether they like that or not. I think that with such a tight decision, you can go back and say ‘let’s ask again if the people really want to go through with this’ because now the British people seem to understand what that really means.”. 

airBaltic has refused to answer if Gauss' comments and his call for a second EU referendum in the UK were his personal views or that of the airline or indeed as the airline is a government-owned entity the opinion of the Latvian government. 

Earlier this month the airline welcomed its penultimate Airbus A220-300 to its Riga base. The jet arrived on 13th October with the registration of YL-CSL and by the end of the year, the carrier plans to have a total of 14 Airbus A220-300 aircraft in its fleet.