AirBaltic confirm additional order for A220 to become biggest European customer

AirBaltic currently already has 44 A220-300s in operation. The Latvian flag carrier has now increased its total order with Airbus to 80 A220s.
AirBaltic currently already has 44 A220-300s in operation. The Latvian flag carrier has now increased its total order with Airbus to 80 A220s.

LATVIAN flag carrier AirBaltic is set to become the biggest European customer of the Airbus A220 aircraft, which sources its wings from the Belfast-based operation of Spirit Aerosystems.

Air Baltic has confirmed an incremental order for an additional 30 A220-300 craft, taking its total order to 80.

The airline already has 44 A220-300s in operation and is currently the largest A220-300 operator in the world.

The latest deal for the A220 comes after Kansas-based Spirit Aerosystems admitted the programme was among the loss-making parts of its business.

Spirit took over the wing-making operation in 2019 after acquiring Bombardier’s Northern Ireland business.

The latest accounts for the Belfast-based business revealed a £185 million loss before tax in 2022, taking the total pre-tax losses since 2019 to around three quarters of a billion US dollars.

Read more:

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As a group, Spirit Aerosystems has continued to report losses this year.

Earlier this month, Spirt Aerosystems’ chief executive, Patrick Shanahan told analysts the company is in negotiations with Airbus, which could change the terms of its deal with the French plane maker.

Spirit recently reached a deal with Boeing on the prices paid for work on its 787 Dreamliner and 737 aircraft.

The third quarter results for Spirit show its completed work on 43 A220s during the first nine months of 2023, compared to 46 in the same period last year.

The pace of work appears to be increasing, with 16 A220s completed in the third quarter of this year, compared to 12 in the same quarter last year.

Speaking on Monday, the president and CEO of AirBaltic, Martin Gauss, said the latest A220 deal is part of the Latvian carrier’s plans to operate a fleet of 100 aircraft by 2030.

“For almost seven years already, the Airbus A220-300 has been the backbone of our operations and has played an integral role in the international success story of AirBaltic,” he said.

“Being the global launch customer of the Airbus A220-300, we continue to be a proud ambassador of it. We are grateful to our partners at Airbus for the incredible support, trust, and collaboration over these years.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer said: “The A220 has been the instrument for AirBaltic in its success and growth thus far and we are particularly proud to be extending this partnership well into the future with this latest order.”

Airbus said it had delivered 295 A220 aircraft to 17 airlines to date, as of the end of October.