We like to introduce Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic, and are happy he has shared some views on the ways the young airline can help to further boost meeting and congress business to Latvia!
Q: Riga, the capital of Latvia, prepares to receive more international congresses and larger events. Two new venues are opening up in 2019 (Hanzas Perons and a Convention Centre) and the Latvian Convention Bureau works on inviting association congresses for the future. How is airBaltic equipped to bringing in attendees for larger international events (1000 plus?)
A: As the leading airline in the Baltics, airBaltic offers more than 70 direct flights from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius to the network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the CIS and the Middle East, and over 300 destinations with one-stop across the world. Located in the Northeastern part of Europe and being the part of EU, airBaltic is a perfect link between the East and West. Over 4 million passengers travelled with airBaltic in 2018, and this is the highest number of passengers the airline has carried in a year so far.
airBaltic aims to ultimately connect the Baltic capitals with one stop to even more destinations in the world, thus offering convenient travelling to both incoming and outgoing traffic. Our broad offer of convenient connections facilitates the development of the Baltic region as the right place for international events of different scale.
In addition to the network growth, we increase the capacity by introducing the new, most spacious Airbus A220-300 and replacing the Bombardier Q400Next Gen aircraft. Airbus A220-300 offers an excellent flying experience with such benefits for passengers as wider seats, larger windows, more hand luggage space in the cabin, improved lavatories and much more. The new aircraft is also considerably quieter – with a four times smaller noise footprint. Moreover, at the moment it is the greenest commercial aircraft in the world, as it is the first aircraft to have a transparent declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, helping to reduce CO2 and NOX emissions by 20% and 50% respectively.
To date, we have introduced already 19 Airbus A220-300 aircraft in our fleet moving towards a single type fleet of 50 Airbus A220-300 aircraft by 2022 with an option to execute additional 30 orders. Thus, we will have the youngest jet fleet in Europe, providing additional efficiency any airline is seeking in the highly competitive aviation market. It allows us to keep a competitive price range, maintaining a high-quality service.
Q: Having seen the potential of the secondary cities in Latvia like Liepaja and Daugavpils or Rezekne with some beautiful Venues, are there any plans for a better accessibility to these cities?
A: When evaluating possible destinations which airBaltic could add to its network, many factors have to be taken into account. In case of smaller airfields, it is necessary to evaluate, whether the smaller airfields are able to support scheduled traffic and the successful operations of airBaltic aircraft.
At the moment, there is only Liepaja’s airport as an option for domestic air traffic. In 2018, the Latvian airline airBaltic has increased the number of flights between Riga and Liepaja from three to five per week. In this way, we continue to improve Liepaja’s connectivity with the world via Riga. Such a domestic service is important for the region’s economy. We offer advanced flight options for both business and leisure travelers. airBaltic operates the domestic flights to Liepaja since 2017.
Q: How can you help congress organizers for their easy handling of delegates? What special service do you offer at Air Baltic?
Besides good connectivity, airBaltic also offers a very punctual service, which is of high importance for business travelers. airBaltic is the most punctual airline in Europe for 2018 according to OAG analysts, who tracked the performance of a total of over 58 million flight records and achieved a 99.8% flight regularity in 2018. airBaltic has been at the top of the global on-time performance ranking for the past five consecutive years.
airBaltic strives to adapt to travelers’ needs as much as possible, finding individual solutions for arranging their visits. We do offer special fares and discounts on our scheduled flights through our website www.airbaltic.com or through dedicated travel agencies. Additional requests can be considered and provided upon request. Event organizers are welcome to submit their requests also to specially dedicated e-mail event@AirBaltic.lv. We will process it and find the most suitable solution.
We continuously work together with tourism authorities in the Baltic countries to promote MICE in our markets.
Q: What are your views and priorities on future development of the international congress and event business for Latvia?
A: airBaltic is very interested in the development of international congress and event business in Latvia as it attracts more and more visitors to our country and the Baltics in general, boosts the economy and promotes the region worldwide. Latvia has a lot to offer to an even very sophisticated traveler, both coming for business and leisure, excellent hotels, speedy internet connection and good food being just some of the benefits. Although the number of international congresses, meetings, exhibitions and other business or cultural events held in Latvia grows with every year, it is still not that well known place, so we appreciate every chance that raises awareness of this beautiful country.
Thank you very much, Mr. Gauss! We look forward to accompany this process to raise further awareness together with all partners in Latvia!
Following are the topics that you will read about in the ongoing series on Latvia and Riga — it is worthwhile to explore them and pick those which are most relevant to your kind of business. You will be able to source some true gems for fresh and new destinations for your Incentive trips or Meetings!
Latvia for Intl. Congresses and Conferences
- Magnetic Latvia – Experiential Hubs for Rebuilding, Architecture and Design
- Destination Latvia – an abundance of water and nature
- Sport in Latvia: infrastructure, events and education
- Arts and Artists — experiencing, discovering and learning about art in Latvia
- New hotels and restaurants open in Riga and across the country
For any requests you have or help that you require for putting together a MICE program for your clients, contact:
Ieva Gredzena, LIAA (Investment and Development Agency of Latvia) email: Ieva.Gredzena@liaa.gov.lv
Aigars Smiltans of MeetRiga, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact me at tmf dialogue marketing, Johanna Fischer email email@example.com