Air Baltic is expanding its operations at Tallinn Airport both as part of its business plan as well as a reaction to market conditions, Air Baltic CEO Martin Gauss told ERR. The airline is planning to have more and new planes based in Tallinn as well. According to Gauss, Tallinn has become Air Baltic's second home market.
Estonian state-owned carrier Nordica's decision to abandon the passenger business and instead concentrate on its subcontracting business further speeds up Air Baltic's business development in Estonia, Gauss said. At the same time, other important factors come into play as well, including competitors as well as the delivery schedule for Air Baltic's new planes.
Currently three of the Latvian airline's new Airbuses are based in Tallinn, ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera" newscast reported.
Speaking to ERR's Ragnar Kond in Riga on Thursday, Gauss said that Air Baltic is committed to the Tallinn market. "This is now our second biggest Baltic market, and we are developing it further. We are very happy, because we have increased the passengers by 30 percent already year over year, and we have now 12 routes and we intend to do more," Gauss said.
The Riga-Tallinn route is the most important one at this point, moving some 7,000 passengers a week, he added.
Asked about potential options acquiring Nordica from the Estonian state, the Latvians confirm that there is no interest or need whatsoever to do so. On the contrary, their own expansion plans at Tallinn mean that Estonians won't need to worry about direct flights, as Air Baltic will bring those anyway.
His airline has grown according to plan, Gauss stressed, which means there's no need to buy any other company. In terms of market share, Air Baltic is headed for 50 planes, 10 more than it has at the moment and a 25 percent increase of its fleet, which given the business conditions and the market is a considerable step.
Hinting at Nordica's case, Gauss said that small airlines that can't offer connecting flights are faced with difficult times in conditions where even Air Baltic's 70 destinations still make for only a small airline.
Editor: Dario Cavegn