LONDON – On June 14, the Baltic States’ largest carrier, airBaltic, announced that it will be starting scheduled services to Marrakesh in Morocco.
Heading to Marrakesh, an Africa first for airBaltic…
Their new destination, Marrakesh in Morocco, will be operated during the winter season of 2022/2023 from the Latvian capital city, Riga.
This new service will mark the airline’s 81st destination throughout its expansive network and its first-ever scheduled destination within the African continent.
However, airBaltic has operated charter flights to both Egypt’s Hurghada International Airport (HRG) and Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) during their peak summer season.
Starting from October 31, the new service will operate on a twice-weekly basis using the carrier’s all-Airbus A220-300 fleet.
The flight is scheduled to take approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes and will depart from Riga’s International Airport (RIX) and arrive at Marrakesh’s Menara Airport (RAK) before returning back to Riga.
Commenting on the new winter destination announcement, airBaltic’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Gauss, has said, “We are excited to announce our first-ever scheduled route to Africa. As the leading airline in the Baltics, we continue to build our network, adding more exciting leisure destinations also for the winter season.”
At present, airBaltic is the largest single operator of the Airbus A220-300 series aircraft worldwide, formally known as the Bombardier C Series 300, and in the past month alone, has taken delivery of two new Airbus A220-300 aircraft, subsequently its third and fourth new aircraft this year out of an expected eight it is expecting to receive during 2022.
These new aircraft deliveries bring airBaltic’s fleet to a total of 36 aircraft, all of with are Airbus A220-300s. The latest two registrations are YL-ABI and YL-ABJ.
However, prior to May 2020, airBaltic did recently operate Boeing 737-300 Classic aircraft and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop aircraft. Of which the carrier once had a total of nine Boeing 737-300’s and 12 Q400’s.
airBaltic still has a further 14 on backorder, all of which are scheduled to be delivered over the coming few years to bring the carrier’s fleet to a total of 50 Airbus A220-300s, however, they still have further options for an additional 30 of the type, meaning we could see them eventually grow to up to 80 of the type.
Since airBaltic began operating its Airbus A220-300 aircraft back in late 2016, they have since carried a total of nearly 8 million passengers on the type with more than 92,000 flights logged as well as over 200,000 logged block hours across its entire Airbus A220-300 fleet. Some astounding numbers compared to other Airbus A220 operators.
Marrakesh is a widely popular European vacation destination, however, most operators, tend to head to Marrakesh during the summer season, so it is interesting to see that airBaltic has a demand for this new winter service.
At present, most of airBaltic’s destinations are throughout continental Europe, so it is great to see them begin expanding into new continents and it will be interesting to see what the future holds as the carrier still gradually grows.