LONDON – Latvian flag carrier airBaltic has officially removed the last of its Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, making the type history for the airline.
The airline’s Q400 fleet has been mostly stored at Riga (RIX) since the fleet overhaul.
The Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 was previously operated alongside the Boeing 737 Classic series.
Still, it was slowly phased out in favor of new-stage development and the introduction of the Bombardier CS300, also known as the Airbus A220-300.
The last departure
In airBaltic history coming up from the 2010s, the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft has played a key role in the airline’s operations and served a number of destinations alongside the Boeing 737 Classic series, which airBaltic also utilized.
However, the airBaltic fleet has, in later times, been completely overhauled, with the exit of the Boeing 737s and Q400s coming in favor of a much more efficient and modern airliner, the Airbus A220.
Being mostly stored at the airport of Riga (RIX), the Dash 8-Q400s are now all re-delivered and gone as the last Q400 departed and left the fleet on February 1, 2023, back to the lessor Nordic Aviation Capital.
Already, some of the Dash8-Q400s have made their re-entry into service with the Norwegian carrier Widerøe.
An official ending
airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss commented the following on the final Q400s exit from the airBaltic fleet:-
“The last redelivery flight marks an official end to our previous stage of development. Q400, definitely, was an excellent-performance aircraft, which at the time helped us to get where we are today – flying the most efficient and greenest fleet in Europe.”
“Although a smaller plane allows more flexibility occasionally, still a single-type fleet has significant advantages – both economic and technical (maintenance), and also in terms of sustainability and training. We are thankful to Bombardier for its service; it was a journey recorded in our history. Now we are looking forward and are delighted, how Airbus A220-300 has transformed our airline, becoming one of the core and very valuable assets of the company,” – he concludes.
The first Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft joined airBaltic back in 2010.
Over the years, 12 different Bombardier Q400 NextGen have carried more than 11 million passengers in total and have performed over 222 thousand flights all across Europe.
39th A220 delivered
Announced by airBaltic on January 2, 2023, the Latvian carrier took delivery of their latest and 39th fleet addition registered YL-ABM, an Airbus A220-300.
The new delivery marked itself as the 7th and last A220 delivery to airBaltic in 2022.
The aircraft becomes the 39th of the fifty Airbus A220-300s that airBaltic ordered. Additional to this order, they hold the option for 30 more, along with the purchase right on the type.
The 39th delivery occurred shortly after the 37th and 38th of the type entered the fleet.
The airframes registered YL-ABK and YL-ABL both made their entry to the airBaltic fleet after a mere 7.5-hours flight time from the Montreal Mirabel Int’l Airport (YMX), where the A220’s delivery center is.
For now, the milestone is marked, and airBaltic continues on its path toward further success.