Despite a nearly 30 percent increase in revenue on year, Nordica nonetheless reported a consolidated net loss of €11.9 million for the first nine months of 2023, the Estonian state-owned airline announced Wednesday.
Driven by an expanded fleet and increased customer activity, in the first nine months of 2023, Nordic Aviation Group's revenues increased 29.8 percent on year to €85.5 million, the company said in its nine-month financial report published Wednesday.
Nonetheless, the airline continued to earn significantly lower than budgeted revenues due to delayed aircraft leases and operational challenges related to crew and pilot shortages, but also long aircraft downtimes for maintenance. For example, an engine defect on one of its new A320 airliners took the plane out of service for nearly two months this summer, leading to a loss of revenue on top of having to pay for the insurance deductible for repairs.
Operating experiences also increased by €35.17 million, or 56.4 percent, on year, which Nordica attributed to several factors, including "inflationary pressure, one-time ramp-up costs associated with new customer activity as well as certain operational constraints not unique to Nordic Aviation Group."
The company posted a nine-month consolidated net loss of €11.9 million, down from a net profit of €1.8 million on year.
"In order to restore profitability, the group has taken immediate and decisive steps, including launching a strategic business model review and hiring an international aviation consultancy team, Knighthood Global Ltd.," Nordica detailed in its report. "Their expertise will help stabilize our operational and financial position and set a sustainable path for privatization."
Four new aircraft initially joined Nordica's fleet this year – one ATR 72-600 in March as well as three Airbus A320s in May and June – joined later by the purchase of an additional ATR 72-600 and the redelivery of an Airbus A320.
As of the end of September, Nordica's fleet comprised 21 aircraft – nine Bombardier CRJ 900s, nine ATR 72-600s and three Airbus A320s. This represented an increase of five aircraft on year, the airline said, highlighting the addition of the A320s to its fleet as a particularly important milestone.
This summer, the airline finished the first half of 2023 with a loss of €7.2 million, prompting Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) to order Nordica's supervisory board to conduct a special audit.
Last month, the National Audit Office published a report indicating that the state has been an inept owner, and that reasons for justifying maintaining both Nordica and aviation assets manager OÜ Transpordi Varahaldus under state ownership were lacking.
Editor: Aili Vahtla