Latvia-based airline, Smartlynx Airlines has announced that it has ended year 2023 with some great numbers. The airline has proven to be exceptionally successful and has expanded.
It is well-known for its charter and ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) services. By providing dependable and effective services to satisfy the changing needs of the air travel market, Smartlynx Airlines has solidified its place as a major player in the aviation business as it continues to carve out a significant niche for itself.
Growth Achieved in 2023
In 2023, Smartlynx Airlines operated 48 percent more flights than 2022. Talking about the number of passengers carried, it carried 53 percent more passengers than previous year. In total, it carried 6.5 million passengers in 2023. This is the highest ever passengers carried by Smartlynx. Fleet of Smartlynx Airlines increased by more than 37 percent. In December 2022, the airline had 49 aircraft. Now, it boasts a fleet of 67 jets. The airline for the first time introduced a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in the ACMI sector.
Throughout the year, demand for ACMI services were increasing. Supply chain issues played a huge role. Due to supply chain constraints, new aircraft deliveries were not delivered to many airlines. Many were getting aircraft deliveries with too much delay. There was an average delay of 16 months in new aircraft delivery. Add to that the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engine issues, airlines started looking at leasing aircraft instead of purchasing the brand new ones.
Challenging, Yet Successful
Smartlynx Airlines Chief Executive Officer Žygimantas Surintas said that year 2023 was full of challenges, yet it was the most successful year for the ACMI player. The airline will always look to chase perfection as its results get better. In 2023, Smartlynx signed first ever deal with an Indian airline – IndiGo. The ACMI carrier wants to increase its presence in India, Gulf, Middle East and American region.
Due to the reliability of Smartlynx, almost all aircraft are already reserved for flights in 2024. In this year, the airline will increase its fleet and capacity of staff members in response to the consumer demand.
Drop in Air Freight Volumes
While the civilian flights were wonderful throughout the year, the airline faced a lot of challenges in cargo industry. It has a fleet of 14 Airbus A321P2F freighter jets. In early 2024, the airline add 2 more A321P2Fs in its fleet.
Smartlynx was also impacted by the lowering in E-Commerce volumes worldwide. Even after this, it increased its air-freight volume by a staggering 63 percent. This was possible because the airline has already signed long term contracts with many global players.
CEO of Smartlynx Airlines said that the market is currently in a state of temporary slowdown. As an airline, we have to be patient and think of the long term perspective. In 2023, the airline made significant investment in growing its freighter fleet. Hence, it is confident in its competitiveness and anticipates that the largest return from this segment will be felt over the coming years.
More Customer Onboard
Despite all the challenges faced in this year, the airline has not stopped increasing its capacity. It signed 12.5 percent more contracts with global customers with respect to year 2022. Airlines like Turkish Airlines, TUI Airways, AirTransat and DHL Express are the long term partners of the airline. In 2023, it implemented a joint project with Scandinavian Airline SAS.
In the largest move, it signed wet leasing agreement with IndiGo Airlines for 11 Airbus A320 jets. IndiGo has received deliveries of all the Airbus A320ceos.
The Indian airline is currently struggling with Pratt & Whitney engine issues. To mitigate the festival season demand, the airline chose to wet lease 11 Airbus A320ceo jets from Smartlynx. On 26 October, IndiGo received delivery of 1st wet leased aircraft. Last one was delivered on 20th December.
In February 2023, SAS announced that it will be wet leasing 8 Airbus A320 jets from Smartlynx Airlines. On 5th November 2023, a Smartlynx Estonia A320 registered as ES-SAB operated by SAS diverted to Brussels Airport due to smell of fumes in the cabin.
Source : Smartlynx Airlines Press Release