airBaltic Retiring 737-300s & Q400s Early - Becoming All-Airbus Operator

airBaltic will retire its remaining Boeing 737-300s and Dash-8 Q400s early.


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The Latvian flag-carrier has announced it will retire its remaining 3 Boeing 737-300s and 12 Q400s early as a result of the aircraft aging, leases running out, and wanting a simplified fleet.

airBaltic ended all scheduled operations on March 14, 2020, after the government closed borders. airBaltic continues to operate cargo flights using its Airbus A220s.

The airline’s 737-300s were originally supposed to be retired at the end of summer 2020, or even sometime in early 2021, but it looks like that has been accelerated by months.

Once airBaltic resumes scheduled operations, both the 737-300s and Q400s will not fly, meaning their last revenue flights were in March.


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According to WorldAirlineNews, the airline’s 737-300’s last revenue flight was on March 16, 2020, with these three remaining aircraft:

YL-BBJ – flight BT246 FRA-RIX arriving at 1852 (6:52 pm) local time
YL-BBX – flight BT122 GOT-RIX arriving at 1650 (4:50 pm) local time
YL-BBY – flight BT405 KBP-RIX arriving at 2204 (10:04 pm) local time (the final Boeing 737 revenue flight)

airBaltic has been planning an all-Airbus fleet for some time now, according to CEO Martin Guass:

'We were planning on our fleet to be completely made up of Airbus planes anyways. We were planning to still use several Boeing 737-300 aircraft this year and possibly next year, but this has been concluded and we are not making any regular flights with Boeing aircraft anymore. ‘‘It is clear that we will discontinue the use of these planes as well in the future. We will focus on simplifying our activities and will only use Airbus aircraft in the future.’’


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The airline currently has 22 Airbus A220-300s in its fleet with 28 more on order, with options for 18 more aircraft.

Image Credits/Sources

A220: https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/9552355
Q400: https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/9540996
737-300: https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/8591272

Sources:
https://www.flightglobal.com/strategy/air-baltic-service-resumption-planning-excludes-dash-8s-and-737s/137703.article?adredir=1
https://worldairlinenews.com/2020/04/03/airbaltic-further-reduces-capacity-for-the-upcoming-months-parks-its-last-boeing-737/
http://www.baltic-course.com/eng2/transport/?doc=155015

Really sad to see more aircraft retirements accelerated. The subfleets of Boeing 737s (-300, -400, -500, etc.) are becoming more uncommon as they become less efficient compared to aircraft like the A220.

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I understand that the 737 classics are a little bit older but why retire the Q400?

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I didn’t even know that they had 737s, I love the look of the livery on the plane though.

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Their lease was supposed to expire by 2023, but airBaltic wants a more simplified, all-Airbus fleet.

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Go-Airbus!


Really interesting news, especially the fact that they are retiring the Q-400’s as well…

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Unfortunate to see the 737-300 go, it’s one of the classics in the series. And as for the Dash-8, I don’t know why they’re being retired early, they’re great regional planes. Also, I don’t like the A220 too much. But things have to change, and I guess AirBaltic is making the choices, and not me.

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Really wanted to fly the Q400 some day. Yes they’re retiring for simplicity of the fleet, but for variety and the lease expiring later, I don’t see a need. Another reason to add the A220 as flying the Q400 in IF isn’t enough now. ;)

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An all A220 airline? Sounds good to me!

If we can get a A220 in game, airBaltic better have a livery.

I think the A220 is pretty cool, but sad to see older aircraft go… we’ve already seen a lot of retirements of older aircraft. Well probably see more😕

The 733 and the Q400 were some great planes in their fleet. Such classic and historical aircraft. Now the fleet is just bland in my opinion.

As a team-Airbus person, I’m not devastated by this news but it’s still a shame to see the Q400s go, they’re quite nice from the one time that I’ve flown on it.

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