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Latvia's airBaltic finishes first half of 2023 with €14.6m net profit

An Airbus A220-300 operated by Latvia's airBaltic.
An Airbus A220-300 operated by Latvia's airBaltic. Source: airBaltic

The Latvian state-owned airline airBaltic finished the first half of 2023 with a net profit of €14.6 million, marking an improvement of €105.7 million on year, the carrier announced Wednesday.

"The data confirms that airBaltic has attained its highest-ever revenue for the first half of a single year, reaching €291 million," the company also noted in a press release. "This marks an impressive 52 percent increase in contrast to the previous year, and a substantial 33 percent improvement over 2019."

AirBaltic likewise concluded the first half with significant comparable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) of nearly €57 million, up by more than €50 million on year. It achieved a record-breaking comparable EBITDAR of €53.8 million in the second quarter of 2023, resulting in an EBITDAR margin of close to 29 percent.

"The exceptional results of the first half of this year have exceeded our expectations," airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss said, commenting on the results. "We are doing well in terms of business, and the operating cash flow is at an all-time high."

Nonetheless, he continued, a shortage of spare engines, which led to an average of 11 aircraft grounded, significantly impacted the airline's performance in the second quarter, hindering an even greater improvement in overall results.

"To mitigate this capacity loss, we were forced to wet-lease in substitute aircraft," Gauss said. "Despite these obstacles, airBaltic's commercial performance was strong."

From January through June of this year, airBaltic carried close to 2 million passengers, or 52 percent more than in the first half of last year. This July, airBaltic carried more than 500,000 passengers in a month for the first time since 2019 and fifth time in the airline's history.

AirBaltic had been posting significant losses for years.

In 2022, the Latvian airline's turnover reached €500.2 million, up 2.5 times compared with the previous year. At the same time, it also reduced its loss by 2.5 times to €54.2 million.

In the first half of 2023, airBaltic operated a network of 108 routes — up from 101 routes in 2022 and 87 routes in 2019 — including 75 direct routes from Riga, 15 from Tallinn, 11 from Vilnius and seven from Tampere.

The airline's fleet currently comprises 42 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with two more to be added this month. The company intends to expand its fleet to a total of 50 aircraft by the end of 2024.

Established in 1995, airBaltic is a joint stock company, 97.97 percent of shares of which belong to the Latvian state; the remaining 2.03 percent are held by Aircraft Leasing 1, which in turn is owned by Danish businessman Lars Thuesen.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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