Latvian airBaltic becomes number one airline in Estonia

The Latvian airline, airBaltic, has become the largest airline in Estonia, partly helped along by the demise and bankruptcy of the former Estonian national airline, Estonian Air.

In April, airBaltic achieved a 64% growth and serviced 28,474 passengers travelling to and from Estonia, the company announced in a statement.

“For the first time in history, airBaltic is the number one airline in Estonia. We sincerely thank our Estonian customers for choosing airBaltic as their home carrier,” Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic, said.

The former leader was Estonian Air, the Estonian flag carrier airline  between 1991 and 2015. Prior to its closure due to bankruptcy, the airline flew from Tallinn to 11 destinations in Europe. Estonian Air was replaced by the government-owned Nordica, which currently serves 16 destinations with a fleet of three Bombardier jets.

airBaltic claimed on Tuesday that Nordica had 4% fewer travellers in April. By 2021, airBaltic plans to operate 11 direct routes out of Tallinn, in combination with transfers via Riga, where it serves over 60 destinations.

airBaltic, established in 1995 and currently running 24 aircraft, is a joint stock company. Its primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds around 80% of the stock, while German investor Ralf Dieter Montag-Girmes holds around 20%.

Some aviation experts have recommended Estonian government to cooperate with Latvia and Lithuania and form a joint company with airBaltic, rather than attempt to develop another national airline.

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