airBaltic’s Balkan expansion “one of the biggest changes to Riga network”


airBaltic has expanded across the Balkans this year and added new destinations in the former Yugoslavia including Ljubljana, Skopje, and Pristina, complementing Belgrade and Tivat, which were added to the network in 2023. Services to the Slovenian capital have been extended to year-round operations, with the route benefiting from the country’s subsidy program aimed at improving Ljubljana’s connectivity, On the other hand, its seasonal flights to Pristina have been cut-short by over a month. Commenting on its performance in the region, airBaltic told EX-YU Aviation News, “This has been one of the biggest changes to our Riga network since the pandemic. We have started generating completely new traffic flows via Riga by connecting the Baltic and Nordic countries to the Balkan countries and back. As with most new routes, we have some that overperform and some that underperform compared to our business case. For example, on some routes, we have noticed very strong demand directionality, which can be challenging to overcome, while on others we were surprised to see strong incoming demand to the Baltic and Nordic countries”.

Asked if it has plans to upgrade any of its seasonal routes within the former Yugoslavia to year-round operations beyond Ljubljana, the carrier said, “Currently, there are no plans to add other routes in the region to year-round operations”. The Latvian flag carrier did not want to be drawn on whether Zagreb or Sarajevo could join its network next year. “We have a list of many potential new routes, and it is being updated before each season to determine the best options for expansion”. This year, airBaltic has a total of 132.260 seats on flights to and from the former Yugoslavia. Out of those, the largest amount of capacity, 23.7%, is to Croatia, where the airline flies from Riga and Tallinn to Dubrovnik and Split, as well as from Vilnius to Dubrovnik.

Late last year, the Slovenian government held talks with representatives from airBaltic and discussed the possibility of the opening of a new base in Ljubljana. At the time, airBaltic representatives said they had no plans to open a base in the city, noting that such action would require substantial financial and organisational investment, along with the need to establish a new brand on the Slovenian market. Asked by EX-YU Aviation News whether it has reconsidered its position, the airline noted, “We cannot comment on this specific case, but considering our fleet growth in the future, we are open to investigating different opportunities and underserved markets across Europe”.


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:00

    Interesting that Croatia will have the most capacity even though Slovenia has year-round flights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      Everyone wants to visit beautiful Dalmatia!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:47

      Do not forget that most passengers in LJU are Croats now that airBaltic does not fly from ZAG and RJK.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:07

      @9:47
      Can you stop with this annoying comments you are not funny to anyone

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:14

      I flew on AirBaltic last week. It was like 60% Latvians 20% Slovenes 20% others, didn't hear a single Croat doe

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:17

      Croats are travelling to Latvia.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous13:04

      You flew with them in Zurich or Riga? If in Riga, how was LF?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous13:18

      I'll probs make a trip report, but LJU-RIX was around 95% and RIX-LJU was completely full

      Delete
    8. Anonymous14:13

      Those are excellent loads.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:01

    I really hope they consider Sarajevo for next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:03

      Finger crossed.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:30

      They should, it's got more to offer than some of those destinations that underperformed, we all know which ones.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:52

      It would be nice. They can apply for next subsidy program.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:14

      Is there really demand from Sarajevo to the Baltics?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous14:22

      Isn't Sarajevo a huge city with milions of tourists? If LJU can work with no demand then SJJ will work even better.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous15:09

      There might not be demand from Sarajevo to Baltics but there could be from Baltics to Sarajevo.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous17:22

      Why wouldn't there be demand to the Baltics, tour agencies offer it, the cities are nice and safe and still affordable for a Bosnian

      Delete
    8. Anonymous23:30

      It's crazy they're not flying to SJJ yet

      Delete
    9. Anonymous23:41

      Why?

      Delete
    10. Anonymous08:48

      Because it has a lot of potential and my assumption is it has more potential than PRN for example.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous08:50

      And yet they chose PRN over SJJ.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:01

    They need to establish a base in Ljubljana.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:14

      it would be a new era for LJU.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:50

      Not going to happen. Fraport is running the show.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:03

    Opening Priština is sign they are not sure what they are doing. Who on Earth would even consider that route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      Try to cope harder!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:04

      Try to cope harder!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:09

      Try to see the fact that route can not survive even in summer season.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:17

      How does he need to cope when they cut flights to PRN several times before terminating it at the height of the summer season.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:20

      PRN sadly did not perform well, most likely of strong gasto traffic to Switzerland and Germany very similar to SKP.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous13:57

      To Anon 14:15 Wow you really must be an expert.. working for the government I assume, so you know better what everyone else is doing huh ..Only someone from the inside can make such a stupid comment, given this totally incompetent government.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:04

    Bravo Fraport!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      Thank god LJU is run by Fraport. It really has the best management, trying to bring a lot of airlines to make air connectivity amazing.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:15

      Who did they try to bring? All the airlines that came in the last 2 years (including air baltic) were due to state subsidies. Not Fraport marketing activities.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous14:23

      Stop with conspiracy theories!

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:09

    Their base in Ljubljana is the only hope for that airport considering no other LCC wants to make a base and no other airlines are really interested to fly here without hefty subsidies. Of course this would probably be heavioy subsidised but still…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:16

      Would rather give the subsidies to AirBaltic on an A220 than something like Ryanair or Wizzair flying to secondary airports

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:35

      I 100% agree on that!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:53

      Me too !

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:15

      I still think there is a greater chance for Cyprus Airways to open base rather than air baltic.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    Just checked their website and Sofia will be year-round. Wonder if Skopje will follow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:18

      If BEG isn't year round I doubt SKP will be.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:43

      No, it won't. SKP is not on radar at all.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:42

      The flights from RIX to SKP have around 80% LF but the flights back to RIX are almost always empty, just 15-20 people. I think that everyone who uses this route are point to point traffic. AirBaltic is advertisting flights to Riga from Skopje on social medias every day but they didnt do anything for people to find out which connections they offer.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:16

      I guess more has to be done to promote Macedonia as a destination in the Baltics.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous08:47

      Actually quite a bit has been done. Also a visit by Baltic tour operators was organized by TAV.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:16

    Anyone know how BEG is doing with the new schedule? I heard it's not the best which doesn't surprise me since they decided to cut the third weekly flight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:19

      And their flight schedule reminds me on Vueling...We all know how they finished in BEG.

      Delete
    2. I just did Stockholm - Riga - Belgrade with Air Baltic because JU was too expensive. One way with Air Baltic was 100 eur in the peak of summer season. Unfortunately I will never use them again. The very short connection times and airport in Riga was a mess. The arrival in Belgrade was after 1 am and load factor was about 70% on Sunday night.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:31

      @Alex You were aware that the BEG slots weren't the best. Riga airport isn't big at all and you can easily get from the EU gate to the non-EU one in 5 minutes.

      Delete
    4. I didn't like the experience in Riga. Running, waiting at passport control with 2 police officers working. That airport is small yes and not sure they are ready for expansion. Anyways, I will not take them again unless I have to for work due to direct flight.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:57

      Their BEG schedule is EXACTLY THE SAME pattern that JU has on JU's "morning connecting flights". They leave BEG (Riga/Tallinn) around midnight, arrive at destination around 2 in the morning and return to BEG (Riga/Tallinn) is around 3-4 in the morning, just in time to catch morning wave in Belgrade/Riga.
      Its EXACTLY thesame thing

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:27

      They never operated a third weekly flight. They removed it from the schedule months before flights started and it could have been because of a number of reasons.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous10:09

    Where are the numbers? The LF on the flights? The top transfer cities to/from each city? airBatlic gave us nothing fun just yapping....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:17

      That data is generally visible on the GDIs, rather than being provided by spokespersons

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:28

      No airline will provide you with these numbers. Are you crazy?

      Delete
  10. Anonymous11:36

    Unfortunately, I don't see them coming back to PRN. Same issue with LOT. Very seasonal even in summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:59

      How do you mean seasonal even in summer?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:47

      It means that during the first half of summer they are full from PRN to RIX and then during the second half from RIX to PRN but they are empty in one direction or the other for part of the summer. That was the issue LOT faces.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous11:49

    Congrats air Baltic on discovering the region. Hope in time some routes will be upgraded to year round.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous11:49

    Surprising they don't fly to Zagreb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:19

      It is very likely they will start ZAG in 2025

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:45

      Would be nice

      Delete
  13. Anonymous11:52

    Is air Baltic part of any alliance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:04

      No

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:21

      Nope, but they have a lot of codeshares with SkyTeam

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:45

      Isn't their main cooperation with Star Alliance?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous17:23

      They're a part of Star Alliance, they codeshare with all of them

      Delete
    5. Anonymous23:59

      They are not a part of Star Alliance.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:26

      Looking at it, they codeshare all major European airlines barring Finnair and SWISS

      Delete
    7. Anonymous20:48

      AirBaltic is a hybrid low cost so no alliance.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous11:53

    I'm guessing they are making big competition to LOT in terms of transfers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:05

      I don't think so. They have few frequencies and LOT really reduced fares for transfers from the region. Although that might be because of airBaltic.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous13:09

    BTW Sofia is upgraded to year-round.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous14:12

    They have terrible flying times to Belgrade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:17

      It is like that for transfer traffic.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:22

      The A220 is perfect for BT's hub model.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous14:13

    So ljubljana will be the only one year round?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:16

      Yes because it is subsidized.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:12

      Yes but it is subsidized for the summer. Later on, a bit before flights started AirBaltic announced they are going year-round.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous23:58

      Isn't it subsidized year round for 3 years?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous08:50

      ^ I thought so too

      Delete
  18. Anonymous14:13

    SKP is doing a lot to promote this Riga route. Hope it works

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:59

      SKP is doing good with the route.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous14:23

    Would be interesting to see from which or to which destinations they get most transfer traffic for SKP/LJU/PRN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:00

      Like you start your comment , first is SKP then LJU and last is PRN.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous14:23

    Excellent news. Wish them good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous14:47

    I flew with them Riga to Belgrade the weekend after the Easter break, the plane was at least 90% full and it was a big mix of different nationalities.Really liked the experience and enjoyed their A220. They must be doing really well in BEG over the summer season, it's probably just too tough to fill the planes in the dead of winter, but they should consider some flights in Dec/Jan around the xmas and NY. I can imagine Riga being quite beautiful at that time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:10

      Excellent news. Out of curiosity, which nationalities did you encounter on this flight?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:32

      I remember there being some Asians, oddly enough a group of Brazilians, lots of Nordic language speakers (can't tell if it's Danish, Swedish or Norwegian), of course Balkan people, etc.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:47

      Great :) thank you

      Delete
  22. Anonymous15:47

    Very good airline, punctual, easy connections in RIX and their business class is a very solid product.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:01

      Their hub is nice , easy to navigate , catch connection ..and the prices are ok.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous16:14

    I think they will not fly to pristina next year , it will be the same scenario as will LOT ... they will probably add some other airpot on their places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:42

      Yes, most likely.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous17:59

    Does Air Baltic fly year round to BEG from both Talinn and Riga?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:41

      No, they fly seasonally from Riga to Belgrade.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:45

      From Tallinn they only fly to Dubrovnik and Split seasonally in ex-Yu.

      Delete
  25. Anonymous23:42

    Let's see which of these destinations stay next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:45

      All of them except maybe PRN. We will see.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous08:49

    So what happens with all these airlines currently putting more focus on Balkans, like LOT and airBaltic, when the war in Ukraine is over and they rush to open hourly shuttle flights there. Will the Balkans no longer be in the picture like it wasn't for aibaltic for the past 10 years?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous20:51

    Does LOT still have BUD hub?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.