TRIP REPORT: airBaltic, Belgrade - Riga


Greetings! Earlier This Year airBaltic relaunched flights from Riga (RIX) to (BEG) Belgrade after 12 years. This route is typically operated by their flagship - the Airbus A220-300. This particular flight on the 29th of July of this year was operated by YL-ABC, a 2-year-old Airbus A220-300 manufactured in August 2021.

As it was the summer season, I was expecting some delays and they did come in the form of a rather short 42 -minute delay on departure, however, that is nothing compared to the delays which are often present on this flight, some ranging up to 3 hours! Below is my full trip report of this flight from check-in to stepping out onto the soil of the Latvian capital city of Riga, As well as some other resources pertaining to this flight:


Type: Airbus A220-300
Operator: airBaltic 🇱🇻
Registration: YL-ABC 🇱🇻
Route: Belgrade (BEG) - (RIX) Riga
Flight Time: 2 Hours 2 Minutes
Date of Recording: 29th July 2023
Flight Number: BT488 (Callsign: BTI23Y)

My flight (BT488)

airBaltic route map as of July (new Gran Canaria base is being opened in the Later part of 2023)

airBaltic fleet as of July 2023, solely operating the Airbus A220-300

Belgrade featured in the Baltic Outlook inflight magazine(July 2023 edition)

My meal choice for today's flight

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  1. Anonymous09:23

    Nice report. Didn't know that Air Baltic has so massive network of flights. Also a lot of priority seats in the cabin

    1. Anonymous12:36

      Riga airport has pretty much the half number of departures vs. BEG during the next week.

    2. Anonymous12:45

      I was surprised how much grander Belgrade airport looks compared to Riga.

    3. Nemjee12:52

      Up until covid Riga was always way ahead of Belgrade. Seems like the war in Ukraine has negatively impacted their performance. I can't find August numbers for RIX but BEG was ahead at the end of July 2023:

      BEG: 4.188.703
      RIX: 3.748.665

      From what I noticed, their BEG flight doesn't really connect to much in Riga and I remember reading on here that they have quite a few transfers onto JU's network. I think Montenegro was one of the key destinations for them. Looking at their website they seem to be resuming BEG two weeks earlier than this year. It's a good sign though I think it's early to be expecting a third weekly flight.

      I was surprised to see that this winter Wizz Air will be down to just one route from Riga. Some years back they had a 2 or 3 plane base (A320) over there. At the end of October they are terminating Luton and will keep on flying to Kutaisi. I guess they couldn't compete with airBaltic and Ryanair over there. The market isn't big enough.

      As for the trip report, it's a brilliant one. Thank you for taking the time to make it. I especially liked the spotting part at BEG.

    4. Anonymous14:08

      If you take into consideration that Latvia has only 1,9 million people they are doing extreamly good.

    5. Nemjee14:20

      They are doing well mostly because of airBaltic which is bringing in a large number of transfers.
      On top of that they have a large expat community which further stimulates demand. When they joined the EU there were 2.2 million people living there. In 2021 that number fell to 1.8 million. That's more than 400.000 expats who fly home regularly.

  2. Anonymous10:10

    Great video! It was very entertaining to watch, good job! I was surprised by high LF, it seems that they attracted a lot of transfer passengers.

    1. Anonymous11:09

      I watched the whole report but missed the part about the load, how good was it? I saw a lot of people getting off at the end.

    2. Anonymous12:44

      You can see that comment on 18:38 "the flight was quite full, at least 80% LF"

    3. Nemjee12:57

      Interesting part was when they listed connecting destinations on the screen there were just three of them. If that was all they offered then they have really fallen compared to where they were some years back. Then again, Riga doesn't have the best geographical location for a hub, even less so now when they lost access to the Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian market. Even flying to places like Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan... takes much longer due to airspace restrictions. I remember back in 2010 BT even planned on flying to Tehran. I don't know if they actually launched these flights in the end.

    4. Anonymous13:59

      They dont show connections that are several hours away, i always take a longer layover when im travelling and mine never shows on the screen

    5. Nemjee14:23

      Their BEG flight arrives at 17.10 so yesterday they offered short connections to OSL, CPH, ARN, TLL, VNO and then longer connections (6+ hours) to VNO, PLQ, TLL, HEL, BUS,TLV and EVN.

      I have to say this is a rather modest selection of destinations.

    6. Anonymous11:28

      Maybe they are just showing connection for existing passengers in the airplane?

  3. Anonymous10:12

    Nice report!

  4. Anonymous11:27


  5. Anonymous17:29

    Air Baltic reminds me of OU, they will have the same fleet and both suffer from East of Latvia/Croatia Syndrome...

    1. Anonymous00:30

      What are you talking about? They fly to the Caucuses and had a big Russian network before the war

  6. Anonymous12:02

    What an awesome report. I really enjoyed watching it all. Thank you very much! And greetings from serbia


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