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airBaltic starts cancelling flights

  • 2011-09-13
  • TBT Staff

GROUNDED: airBaltic has cancelled a number of flights without explanation amid a worsening financial situation. (photo: airbaltic)

RIGA -- Latvian national airline airBaltic has cancelled a number of flights amid continuing financial difficulties and political strife over the future of the company.

airBaltic announced that it was cancelling more than 20 flights to five European destinations over the course of two days. The airline did not provide any explanation for the flight cancellations, saying only that there were other same-day flights headed to each destination. The airline said it was now a "priority" to provide passengers with "compensation, and to offer alternative travel options".

The flight cancellations come as airBaltic enters a new round of financial crisis, having recently said that it needed a 60 million lat cash injection to stay afloat. Financial problems persist despite a record growth in passenger traffic this summer.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said the state would only provide the money on the condition that CEO Bertolt Flick -- whose name has been mentioned in recent corruption scandals -- would be replaced as company head.

As the spat worsens between the state (majority shareholder with 52.6 percent) and Flick's company "BAS" (47.2 percent share), the Transport Ministry said Monday that it would turn to law enforcement agencies over possible violations by Flick.

The Transport Ministry alleges that BAS attempted to register fake shares in a bid to wrest majority control of the airline from the state.