airBaltic Makes Milan Airport Switch

Latvian national carrier airBaltic is to once again switch airports in the Italian city of Milan after agreeing terms to return to Malpensa Airport.  This follows less than three years after the carrier made a switch in the opposite direction after believing that Linate better suited its network activities in 2010.  The airline will once again link its Riga International hub with Milan Malpensa from the start of the Northern summer schedules on March 31, 2013.

airBaltic first launched flights between Riga and Milan in May 2004, initially serving Malpensa Airport on a three times weekly basis, increasing to four times weekly later the same year.  Flights were also introduced to the Italian city from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in April 2007 although the twice weekly route closed in June 2009.  The move to Linate took place in November 2010, by which time the Riga – Milan route was being served on a daily basis.

“By moving to Milan Malpensa airport we can improve our schedule and connections via Riga for travellers from/to the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and the CIS.  Furthermore, our passengers will enjoy new connections to long-haul flights operated out of Milan Malpensa.”

Michael Grimme
Chief Commercial Officer, airBaltic

The airline will now switch back to Malpensa and suggests an “improved service” will offer “convenient travel” on the route and onward to destinations across the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and the CIS.  “By moving to Milan Malpensa airport we can improve our schedule and connections via Riga for travellers from/to the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and the CIS.  Furthermore, our passengers will enjoy new connections to long-haul flights operated out of Milan Malpensa,” said Michael Grimme, Chief Commercial Officer, airBaltic.

In the past year an estimated 25,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Riga and Milan, a link on which airBaltic is the sole operator.  For airBaltic the switch of Milan airports certainly opens up more connection opportunities on the Italian end of the route.  According to this summer’s schedule Malpensa will be linked to 130 different destinations against just 32 from Linate. 

In the table below we look at O&D demand between Riga and Milan and how it has changed since 2006.  In fact point-to-point demand on the route has declined by 42.2 per cent during the seven-year period.  Although following the move from Malpensa to Linate O&D demand rose 11.5 per cent in 2011, it declined 16.8 per cent in 2012 and highlights the important role connecting traffic will potentially have in the long-term sustainability of this route.

ESTIMATED O&D DEMAND BETWEEN RIGA AND MILAN (annual bi-directional O&D passengers)

Year

Milan Linate (LIN)

Milan Malpensa (MXP)

Milan Total

% Change

2006

748

42,531

43,279

8.8 %

2007

743

54,392

55,135

27.4 %

2008

484

47,376

47,860

(-13.2) %

2009

525

37,261

37,786

(-21.0) %

2010

5,178

21,783

26,961

(-28.6) %

2011

28,252

1,812

30,064

11.5 %

2012

23,030

1,978

25,008

(-16.8) %


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