airBaltic will use its Riga training academy to train pilots for its growing A220 fleet. The Latvian flag carrier says it will train its own pilots after announcing new orders for 30 A220-300 aircraft plus options for 20 more at this year’s Dubai Airshow.
The new aircraft order will bump airBaltic A220 fleet capacity beyond 100 aircraft, making it the largest European A220 operator. The carrier currently operates 44 A220 aircraft and was the launch customer of the A220-300, and the largest aircraft in the A220 family.
airBaltic has 450 pilots currently on its books, and the company is a significant employer in Latvia and the Baltics. In its third quarter 2023 (3Q23) investor call, airBaltic will continue to develop as a company as it increases its fleet size.
“Importantly, we have the pilot Academy, which is the key provider of crew now and also moving into the future. Towards the end of this year, we will have already 100 pilots flying in airBaltic that are graduates from the pilot Academy,” says Paul Calitis, chief operational officer at airBaltic.
According to airBaltic 25% of its pilots graduated from the airBaltic’s pilot academy. “This is something that we will continue into the future. Importantly fleet development is measured, and we have good visibility on it. This means that we can then make our training plans and continue the development of our both pilots and cabin crew already in advance,” Calitis adds.
airBaltic has shown that it has a track record of increasing pilot supply in line with its growth. Reliability issues with A220s’ Pratt and Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines has reduced airBaltic’s available capacity. This has help ease pilot shortages in times of high demand post COVID.
Airbus deliveries for airBaltic’s latest A220 order will start in 2027.
Image accredited to airBaltic media library