Posted on: 19 July 2011 by Ross McSweeny
airBaltic is set to retire its Fokker 50 fleet during the winter season, to improve the efficiency of the airline and maintain its focus on affordable ticket prices for flights to/from Europe, Middle East, and Russia/CIS.
“In the past 12 years, the Fokker 50 has served airBaltic very well,” commented Bertolt Flick, the carrier’s president and CEO. “It has been our main workhorse for regional flights that today bring transit passengers to North Hub Riga for their onward journeys.
“It is an excellent aircraft. However, the new reality of increasing fuel prices, mounting cost pressures, coupled with volatility of the markets in Europe and unrest in the Middle East, require us to further improve the efficiency of the airline. As part of airBaltic’s fleet modernisation plan, we introduced the Bombardier Q400 Next Gen aircraft last year. We clearly see the impact of the introduction of the modern aircraft on the efficiency of the airline and operating costs helping us to maintain affordable ticket prices in the world of rising fuel costs. Furthermore, the maintenance costs for the Fokker 50 are also growing, as it is an out-of-production aircraft.”
The retirement of Fokker 50 comes earlier than originally scheduled for 2013, to speed up the fleet modernisation process. Overall, says airBaltic, the retirement of Fokker 50s will be a substantial cost reduction.