SmartLynx is an airline based in Riga, Latvia, specialized in charter and wet lease services. It also performs in-house cabin crew and flight crew training. SmartLynx holds Latvian and Estonian Air Operator Certificates and, as an EU-based airline, upholds quality standards of IOSA and EASA.
In 1992, SmartLynx was founded by four professional pilots and one experienced engineer as Latcharter Airlines, an airline serving both leisure and ad hoc charter markets.
In 1993, the airline started operations with two leased TU-134B aircraft. The first to carry out package holidays from Riga, the airline was also well equipped to provide for sports, event, governmental, military, and executive charter flights.
By 1996, in line with the growth of the leisure market, the airline became the second largest local carrier and owner of the fleet.
In 2000, Latcharter added two Yakovlev Yak-42D aircraft to the fleet. By then, the airline served 9 holidays destinations on a regular basis. In addition, it began wet lease operations, with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as its first lessee.
In 2003, Latcharter introduced its first A320-200 aircraft. The airline gradually retired the soviet-built aircraft, TU-134B by 2004 and YAK-42D by 2006.
In July 2006, Loftleidir Icelandic, the aircraft lease and charter department of Icelandair Group, acquired a majority of 55% shares in Latcharter and eventually the whole company. Latcharter entered the worldwide ACMI market.
In 2007, five A320-200 and two B767-300 were added to the fleet and wet-leased to different airlines from all over the world. Since then, the ACMI market has been the company’s primary focus, and the airline has operated for numerous carriers such as Air Malta, SBA Airlines, Finnair, Condor Flugdienst.
In 2008, at its 15th anniversary, Latcharter was renamed SmartLynx Airlines, and a new logo and livery were introduced.
In 2012, the management of SmartLynx acquired the company from Icelandair in a management buyout.Since then, SmartLynx is a privately owned ACMI and charter operator of Airbus 320 aircraft.
Also in 2012, SmartLynx expanded its charter operations to Tallinn when the airline established Smartlynx Airlines Estonia, a subsidiary to serve the Estonian tour operators. Smartlynx Airlines Estonia started operations with an A320 wet-leased from its parent company.
In 2015, SmartLynx and its subsidiary Smartlynx Airlines Estonia operate a fleet of 12 Airbus A320-200 aircraft, being the European Union’s largest ACMI specialist on Airbus A320.
In 2016, SmartLynx transported 1.9 million passengers, an increase of 18.75% compared to 2015. The On Time Performance indicator for the summer of 2016 reached 89% for all charter flights.
In 2017, SmartLynx transported 2.5 million passengers, which is 31.6% more than in 2016. The net turnover of the airline reached EUR 131.5 million, an increase of 21% compared to 2016.
In 2018, SmartLynx Airlines is the leading ACMI and charter provider in the EU on Airbus A320 aircraft. The aircraft wet-lease services represent 56% of the business portfolio, while charter flights represent 42%.
No fatal accidents involving SmartLynx were registered so far.