Latvia to bail out airBaltic, demand leadership change

  • 2011-08-25
  • TBT Staff

RIGA -- The Latvian government has announced that it will provide emergency funds to ailing national airline airBaltic, but only on the condition that there is a change in the company's management.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told Latvian Radio that the government had "agreed to participate in ensuring the company’s operation,” but only on the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Bertolt Flick.

AirBaltic is majority owned by the state with a 52.6 percent share, while Flick's company Baltic Aviation Systems has a 47.2 percent share. Dombrovskis said the government would consider both a joint injection with BAS or outright buying the smaller shareholder's stake in the company.

The airBaltic board has requested a cash injection of around 60 million lati, following losses of around 30 million lati last year despite a growth in traffic.

The airline’s offices were raided in May amid a criminal probe by the country’s anti-corruption bureau. Flick's name has been repeatedly mentioned in the investigation.