History

SmartLynx Airlines was founded as Latcharter Airlines in 1992 by four professional pilots and one experienced engineer. The company commenced operations with two leased TU-134B aircraft serving both leisure and ad hoc charter markets.

SmartLynx Airlines was founded as Latcharter Airlines in 1992 by four professional pilots and one experienced engineer. The company commenced operations with two leased TU-134B aircraft serving both leisure and ad hoc charter markets. It was the first airline to carry out package holidays from Riga and was well equipped to provide for sports, event, concert, governmental, military and executive charter flights. In line with the growth of the leisure market, by 1996 the airline had become the second largest local carrier, and in ownership of the fleet.

In 2000 Latcharter added two YAK-42D aircraft to the fleet and fully introduced JAR requirements. By then it served 9 holiday destinations on regular basis. In addition to the established business areas, the airline began wet lease, having Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as its first Lessee.

Maintaining a stable growth and keeping up with fleet modernization, Latcharter introduced A320-200 in 2003 and gradually ousted the Soviet-built aircraft, retiring TU-134B by 2004 and YAK-42D by 2006. It added a second A320-200 to its fleet.

After successful cooperation with Latcharter on dry-lease of A320-200, the airline was acquired by Lofleidir Icelandic of Icelandair Group in the summer of 2006. The company entered worldwide ACMI market. Expansion plans came true in 2007 when the fleet was supplemented by five more A320-200 and two B767-300.

In the event of the 15th anniversary of the airline, Latcharter was rebranded to SmartLynx. The brand emphasizes the ability to provide smart and reliable solutions within a business to a business niche market. Lynx, both a wildcat specific to Latvia and a star constellation, was chosen as a symbol to represent these values.

SmartLynx has since then maintained its focus on operating ACMI services on A320 worldwide and serving European leisure carriers in need of extra capacity. The company restructured but maintained its market position during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, keeping a record of stability throughout the years, and returning to profitability by 2012.

The ownership changed in 2012 when the management of SmartLynx acquired the company in a management buyout. Although connection with Loftleidir remains, SmartLynx is since then an independent entity.

In the same year, SmartLynx further expanded its charter operations to Tallinn, Estonia, and established a subsidiary SmartLynx Airlines Estonia. The Estonian company started operations with a wet-leased A320 from its parent company and added its own by early 2013.

In 2016 a Netherlands-based investment fund becomes the owner of the company. SmartLynx aims to enlarge its fleet by 1-2 airplanes each year and continue to expand the geography of its operations worldwide.

In the end of 2016, an update of the brand identity is executed, maintaining the name of the company, though.