airBaltic expresses Jat interest

airBaltic intends to buy Jat tender documentation
The Latvian flag carrier and low cost airline airBaltic has become the first company to show interest to purchase the tender documentation for the creation of a successor airline to Jat Airways. The Government of Latvia recently bailed out airBaltic which was on the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, experts believe that behind this interest stands another company which is using airBaltic so as not to reveal itself. airBaltic is not a member of any alliance and is owned by the Latvian government. However, it previously shared strong ties with SAS Scandinavian Airlines as it was partially owned by the three-state national airline.

It should be noted that airBaltic hasn’t actually bought the tender documentation as some Serbian media yesterday reported, instead only showed “interest” in doing so. The eventual purchase of the tender documentation does not mean that airBaltic will put in an offer. The deadline for the submission of offers is in just over 2 weeks and many have already declared the privatisation attempt as a failure. Last year, when Montenegro Airlines was up for sale up to 3 companies purchased the tender documentation although no one submitted an offer.

airBaltic has been operating flights from its base in Riga to Belgrade on and off for the past 2 years. If no one submits an offer to create a successor national carrier to Jat together with the Serbian government, Jat Airways will stay in its current form as the national flag carrier. It is believed that if the tender fails a new one will be open to find a professional CEO for the company, free of political ties and links. The government wouldn’t attempt to sell Jat again in the near future as scheduled parliamentary elections are to take place in the spring of 2012.


  1. First of all, you should have done more research on this subject.

    airBaltic does not have anything to do with the Serbian market nor do they have any intentions on working on fixing Jat. Their lack of interest in the Serbian market is best portrayed by their decision to suspend their flighs to Belgrade- which had decent loads!

    On the other hand, Bertold Flick, the CEO of airBaltic is being pressured by the Latvian government to resign after numerous disputes with the government officials. The reason why they can't just fire him is because he has a huge stake in the airline.
    Now, airBaltic didn't purchase the documentation for another airline nor are they interested as an airline BUT it is most likely that Flick is looking at Jat once he leaves the ailing carrier in Latvia.

    For those who have managed to read the news there were massive cancellation of airBaltic's flights out of Riga. No explanation has been given to as why they occured.
    This airline is falling apart and Flick is using Latvian money to see the situation in Jat and if it is worth investing in.

    As for SAS, yes, they USED TO have a close relationship with BT but not anymore.
    SAS on the other hand has just managed to report its first profit after 8 years of losses. With Norwegian spreading like plague and Finnair getting stronger, especially now after the deal with Flybe- SAS does not need any more troubles. Not to mention pouring millions into an airline that operates out of a modest market with limited potential.

  2. Anonymous09:45

    Breaking news: airBaltic sells shares, cancels flights
    13.09.2011, 13:37

    The board of airBaltic, the Latvian national carrier, has announced that it has sold 59,110 shares of the company to an undisclosed buyer, reported news2biz.

    The shares were reportedly sold for EUR 9.6m, but the buyer will offer the other shareholders - the Latvian government and Baltijas Aviacijas sistemas - to use their rights of first refusal.

    The 59,110 shares are the difference between airBaltic's registered and paid-in capital, which stands at LVL 59,110. The airline maintains that it has attracted the funding it needs in a critical moment.

    The deal seems rather weird, considering that the shares are sold at a much larger price than their nominal worth. In fact, the price of the shares is much larger than the entire capital of airBaltic, which stands at LVL 0.53m.

    The identity of the buyer has not yet been disclosed, either. This has fuelled rumours that Bertolt Flick, CEO of airBaltic and one of the owners of BAS, is trying to increase his own share in the company, possibly becoming a majority shareholder. On 15 September, the undisclosed buyer is to offer both the government and BAS an opportunity to use their right of first refusal. This would mean that the government would have to find EUR 10m in a very limited amount of time. It obviously would have trouble doing so, which would make BAS a much more likely - and willing - candidate for buying the shares.

    To make matters more complicated, airBaltic has cancelled several flights to destinations such as Berlin, Brussels, Tallinn and Vilnius. The airline has not given any reason for the cancellation, and Riga International airport reports that even the airport has received no explanations. airBaltic promises that it will resume flying on schedule on 14 September.

    One of the cancelled flights has left the President of Latvia Andris Berzins stranded in Brussels. This looks increasingly like power play on behalf of Flick, showing that keeping the President of Latvia grounded is well within his abilities.

    airBaltic is in the middle of a major crisis, which started with allegations that the airline is suffering massive losses. These have now been confirmed, and the airline needs additional funding - which airBaltic claims to have attracted.

  3. Aero10:31

    Well done Anonymous!

  4. @Ex-YU Aviation
    You said that "[i]t should be noted that airBaltic hasn’t actually bought the tender documentation as some Serbian media yesterday reported, instead only showed “interest” in doing so."

    If so, why does you subheading state that "airBaltic buys Jat tender documentation?"

  5. OT:
    Pegasus to launch Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen - Prishtina flights on October 17, see

  6. Anonymous14:50

    Breaking News:
    Air Bosna expressed interest in taking over JAT.

    Merger of these two extremely successful companies will bring new approach / quality to aviation industry overall and new company will be leader in the region, as well as, worldwide.

    Huge number of new employees will be hired to cover all present and future destinations.

    Catering will be based exclusively on BBQ

  7. Anonymous14:56

    @visit kosovo

    Very nice point!
    The author of this blog forgot to place the question mark at the end of the topic!!!
    This definetly means that author should recognize obvious interest not to write anything about Serbian aviation here, or just to shut the blog down!

  8. Anonymous15:17

    Well Ok, Mr. Flick is trying to get a majority stake in airBaltic from the Latvian state, I presume he is highly motivated since he managed to make an airline out of nothing in 1995 and transport 3,5M passengers last year (with over 30 aircraft, although leased).

    I presume that he would be far more capable of managing Jat if he ends up investing some money in the company.

  9. Mr Flick isn't trying to get the majority of the airline, but he is defiant against the state because they would not want to work with him, or see him in the meeting since he is one of the owners of the airline.

    The state would only invest in the airline if he stepped down, just like Nemanja told - it might be him interested in the shares because he clearly needs a new toy.

    In 2010 Hainan Airlines did show some interest in buying p to 49% of the shares.

    I have also read that there are several Russian investors hoping to buy airBaltic.

    I believe that if the purchase came from someone in airBaltic, then it's Mr Flick, not the state

  10. Anonymous01:29

    Qatar Airways will hold a cabin crew recruitment event the 17th of September in Belgrade Continental Hotel .. 9:00 am !
    More infos you can find on the web..
    thank you !

  11. Anonymous07:15

    ^So what? They do it every year.

  12. Sallae09:05

    According to the article published at Novosti web site, Air Baltic actually bought the tender documentation.

  13. Anonymous19:24

    @Anonymous with breaking news.

    You know it is called B&H airlines right?

    Your post is kind of funny, but might as well merge in Adria as well. Who'd want to compete with success like that, better to have them on your side. Then pick the city in the center (BNX) and commence flights to the US and Australia.


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