European Commission extended (16-Apr-2013) the scope of its investigation into state aid received by Estonian Air to include a decision by the Estonian Government on 28-Feb-2013 to increase a previous rescue loan of EUR28.7 million. The Commission will now investigate whether the latest measure is in line with EU state aid rules. [more - original PR]
European Commission extends investigation into Estonian Air
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airBaltic: the hybrid LCC punches above its weight; back to growth and positive EBIT in 2016
For Latvia's national airline, 2016 was a pivotal year. Riga-based airBaltic completed a multi year restructuring programme, increased its passenger numbers for the first time in five years, secured a capital increase and a private investor, and became the launch customer for the Bombardier CS300. On 28-Mar-2016 it further celebrated its successes by announcing a return to positive EBIT, alongside a net profit, for last year.
It has achieved its turnaround in the face of strong competition from foreign LCCs, justifying its positioning as a "hybrid LCC". Data provided to CAPA confirm that its unit cost level is also broadly consistent with the LCC tag. It is now seeking further investment from a strategic investor – preferably another airline. It also faces a decision about the replacement of its Dash 8 turboprop fleet.
AirBaltic CEO Martin Gauss told CAPA that the airline plans for passenger growth to accelerate from 12% in the past year to 16% in 2017, taking traffic levels back above 3 million passengers. For an airline based in a country inhabited by only 2 million people, this suggests that airBaltic has been making some judicious network decisions.
Airports - subject as always to the vicarious uncertainty of airline fortunes
CAPA’s 2016 outlook was against a background of unusually high levels of profitability for airlines.