AirBaltic may face additional problems in future

  • 2011-12-19
  • TBT Staff

The previous forecasts about the future of the national airline airBaltic were made before Latvijas Krajbanka’s collapse and before information about the financial problems of the airline’s private shareholder, Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas (BAS), transpired; therefore airBaltic may face new problems, as the airline’s CEO Martin Gauss (pictured) said in an interview with the Dienas Bizness newspaper.

“The situation with subsidiaries is very uncertain; we are now trying to regain control over everything, to get several elements of paramount importance back for the airline, and get the airline out of businesses it should have never been involved in,” says Gauss, mentioning the example of ground handling company North Hub Services, which partly belongs to BAS, reports

“There is no reason for an airline to own a ground handling company. This is bad for competition, and the airline therefore restricts itself as it is unable to reach agreement with other ground handling companies regarding the best offer,” says Gauss.

Gauss also emphasized that airBaltic has sustained significant losses during the time it was managed from abroad.

“It is impossible to manage an airline without having control over it. This is the worst that may happen,” says Gauss, adding that it is equally bad if one person in the airline has unlimited power, and the other shareholders may not interfere.

AirBaltic plans to reduce its fleet by selling ten old Fokker planes, and its fleet will comprise 24 aircraft next year, says Gauss, adding that the airline currently leases 34 planes, although it does not even use 29 during the winter season.

Gauss goes on to say that the airline’s capacity will not suffer due to the fleet reduction – the fleet will be gradually increased in the future, and in 2016 airBaltic will already have 36 planes.

“But I wish to emphasize that these planes will be in operation – we will not just be keeping these planes and paying money for them,” notes Gauss.