Back in 1995, airBaltic was established in Latvia’s capital, Riga, as a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) and the Latvian state.
On the 1st of October, 1995, operations started with the arrival of a Saab 340 at Riga, and the same day, the aircraft made airBaltic’s first passenger flight.
One year later, airBaltic received its first Avro RJ70 and joined the SAS frequent flier club as a partner.
In 1999, airBaltic replaced all Saab 340s with Fokker 50s and became a joint stock company.
The first Boeing 737-500 joined the fleet in 2003, and in October 2004, the company was rebranded as airBaltic (previously, it was Air Baltic).
In December 2006, the first Boeing 737-300 joined the fleet.
In July 2007, airBaltic introduced its online check-in system.
Next spring, two long-haul Boeing 757-200ER were added to the fleet.
In 2008, airBaltic carried almost 2.7 million passengers.
In January 2009, SAS sold all their shares to airBaltic’s management.
In 2010, airBaltic was selected as Top 10 innovator story in 2010 among the world’s airlines by Airlinetrends.com – an independent industry and consumer trends research agency. airBaltic earned recognition as a trendsetter because of successfully extending the brand to taxi (BalticTaxi) and bicycle rental services (BalticBike).
In December 2011, the Latvian government increased its shareholding in airBaltic to 99.8%, approved future development of airBaltic and investments of LVL 57.6 million. Also, airBaltic was the world’s first airline to sell cars on board, a limited edition of Mini Coopers custom designed with the colors of the airline.
In 2012, airBaltic implemented an intelligent seating solution, Seat Buddy, allowing passengers to sit next to passengers with similar interests or travel mood. For this initiative, airBaltic was selected among the world’s Top 10 most innovative airlines by Airlinetrends.com.
In the first quarter of 2013, after beating all expectations for the financial results of 2012, by far surpassing its original business reshaping plan, airBaltic continued to operate ahead of the business reshaping plan achieving an improvement of its net results by +41% compared to the first quarter of 2012.
In the summer of 2013, airBaltic kept moving forward with the all-Bombardier fleet and business plan and increased the Q400 NextGen fleet by 50% with four additional brand new aircraft entering into service.
In 2014, once again, airBaltic establishes itself as one of the most innovative airlines with its food ordering system named one of the Top 10 innovations globally by Airlinetrends.com. Also, on July 22, 2014, airBaltic became the first airline in the world to accept Bitcoin for online bookings.
In January 2015, airBaltic was ranked No 1 globally in punctuality in 2014 by OAG analysts, with an average on-time performance of 94.9% for flights linking Riga with destinations in Europe and the Middle East. Moreover, airBaltic was the first airline in Europe to introduce on-time arrival guarantee in early 2009, allowing its passengers to make the rare delays less inconvenient.
In December 2016, airBaltic became the launch customer of the Bombardier CS300. airBaltic’s Bombardier CS300 has 145 seats in a one-class configuration and offers benefits such as wider seats, more hand luggage space in the cabin, larger windows and other.
By September 2017, airBaltic took delivery of another 6 Bombardier CS300 that will gradually replace the Boeing B737 planes to be phased out by 2020. The airline also decided to phase out its Bombardier Q400 aircraft and replace them with Bombardier CS300 by 2022.
In 2017, airBaltic achieved the best on-time performance globally for the 4th year in a row and received the CAPA Regional Airline of the Year award. In 2018, the airline received the ATW Airline Industry Achievement Award as the Market Leader of the Year.
In May 2018, airBaltic placed an order for 30 more Bombardier CS300 aircraft. The airline already operates 9 Bombardier CS300 and has pending deliveries for 11 more, which, together with the new order, will see airBaltic operating a total of 50 of the narrow-body jet. By 2021, airBaltic plans to become an all-Bombardier operator with one of the youngest jet fleets in Europe.
There were no major incidents involving airBaltic planes recorded so far.