AirBaltic’s 26th A220-300 Jet

by Claudia Mok

First out of seven of their planned deliveries, AirBaltic welcomed its 26th airbus A220-300 jet, registered as YL-AAZ in Riga on 2 May – with an aim to acquire a total of 32 by the end of 2021.

This comes after they publicised their plan to expand their fleet. Since May last year, AB has operated all its flights with a single aircraft type, that is the A220-300, an air bus that is becoming AB’s unique selling proposition.

AirBaltic YL-AAZ side profile from right

[AirBaltic’s YL-AAZ Side Profile] |© [AirBaltic]

AirBaltic's YL-AAZ wing from left

[AirBaltic YL-AAZ Wing] |© [AirBaltic]

Best of Both Worlds

Founded 28 August 1995, AirBaltic (AB) has worked hard at finding a gap in the market for its airline. They not only work as a hybrid airline by combining practices from traditional network airlines and low-cost carriers, but also one that aims to become Europe’s most sustainable carrier. The Airbus A220-300 gives them that opportunity.

Saving whilst Sustaining

The A220-300 is the greenest commercial aircraft available. Its advanced aerodynamics combined with specially designed Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW15OOG geared turbofan engines contribute to an aircraft that delivers 25% lower fuel burn than previous generation aircraft – in turn helping reduce not only the Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide emissions by 20% and 50% respectively, but also operational costs.

The previous generation model infers the A220-100 which burns 21,805 litres of fuel compared to the A220-300 which burns 300 litres less, that is 21,508 litres of fuel. The former also has a smaller capacity holding 135 passengers compared to the latter which holds 160.

AB’s fleet used to include Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 and Bombardier aircrafts DHQ400 and Dash 8 Q400 (now known as De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400) yet with a change to their business proposition, they started to phase each of them out, reporting that they began to reduce the number of Boeing 737s in 2019 to end in 2020, an aircraft that burns approximately 5,000 pounds of fuel per hour, compared to the A220 that averages 3,500 pounds per hour.

A single aircraft fleet not only makes Latvia’s flagship carrier unique, savvy and sustainable but it also plays into the growing concerns of key stakeholders and the public at large in relation to climate change.

AirBaltic's Sustainability report 2019 - key points

[AirBaltic’s Sustainability report 2019] | © [AirBaltic]

They have also worked at reducing household and mixed packaging waste (cardboard, paper, plastic) by reducing the use of them  – including opting for electronic document use and iPads for pilots.

AirBaltic's Sustainability report 2019 - household and packaging waste

[AirBaltic’s Sustainability report 2019] |© [AirBaltic]

Delta, another eco-friendly airline is also in pursuit of the A220 dream. Since the pandemic started, they have resorted to reducing the Boeing 717 models and have also placed an order for a batch of A220 models (45 A220-100s and 50 A220-300s) for 2021, suggesting that the A220 paves the way for fuel and cost efficiency.

Which aircraft would you opt for amid rising climate change? Let us know below.

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