Air Baltic improved its revenue performance and significantly cut its net loss in the first quarter of 2023, as the business saw positive outcomes from its mixture of own-brand flying and deals to operate capacity for other carriers.  

Its strongest-ever first-quarter revenue helped it to a net loss of €11.4 million ($12.5 million), the airline said on 11 May, a reduction from losses of €37.4 million and €30.9 million in the same three months of 2022 and 2019 respectively.

“The first quarter of 2023 has surpassed our expectations, driving Air Baltic towards strong commercial performance and sustained profitability,” says chief executive Martin Gauss, adding that the carrier is on track to launch its long-discussed IPO in 2024.

The results came amid the impact of the war in Ukraine, which started to weigh on demand for travel to and from the Baltic region just as the airline was emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic last year. The carrier adjusted its business model in response to that challenge, and has since been wet-leasing a significant proportion of its Airbus A220-300 fleet to other airlines.

That shift in focus helped it to first-quarter revenue of €105 million, which was some 75% up on last year and 39% higher than its 2019 result. The record income – which it had already detailed in April – was achieved despite passenger numbers of 770,000 being 6% down against 2019.

Its load factor of 71% in the first quarter was almost 10 percentage points higher than pre-Covid levels.

Air Baltic is targeting full-year revenue of €700 million on passenger numbers of around 4.4 million, it reiterates. That would compare favourably with revenue of €503 million in 2019, on passenger numbers of 5.0 million.

Some 14 of Air Baltic’s 41 A220s are wet-leased to other carriers for the current summer season.