SmartLynx Airlines closes the year with a record number of operated flights28.12.2023
In 2023, SmartLynx Airlines, a Latvia-based airline, made 48% more flights and carried 53% more passengers than the year before. In 2023, the airline increased its fleet from 49 to 67 aircraft, including the first Boeing B737 MAX8 aircraft in the ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) sector, which significantly boosted its passenger numbers.
Over the year 2023, demand for ACMI passenger services continued to grow. This was driven by airlines favoring leasing services over purchasing new aircraft and due to substantial delays (averaging 16 months) in delivering new aircraft and parts from manufacturers worldwide.
This year SmartLynx Airlines increased its fleet by 37% and was able to make 48% more flights than the year before. Thanks to the work and resources invested, the airline reached a record number of passengers carried – totaling over 6.5 million passengers.
“Although full of challenges, overall, this year was a very successful one for the airline. We will not become complacent because, as our results improve, our goals are becoming more ambitious than ever. This year, we made our first flights for an Indian airline, and we can see great potential for growth there, as well as in the Middle East and North America. Our customers value the quality and stability of SmartLynx services, which is why 100% of our passenger aircraft fleet and service resources are already almost fully booked for the next year’s flights. In response to market demand, next year we will continue investing heavily in increasing the airline’s fleet and aircraft crew capacity,” said SmartLynx Airlines CEO Žygimantas Surintas.
Challenges in air freight
While demand for ACMI passenger carriage remains high, one of the biggest challenges this year was air freight, which was significantly affected by a drop in e-commerce volumes worldwide. Despite that, this year SmartLynx Airlines increased its air freight volume by 63% thanks to its successfully concluded long-term contracts.
“We have to look at air freight from a long-term perspective and remain patient, because in light of the volumes seen after the Covid-19 pandemic, the market is now in a state of temporary stagnation,” explains Surintas, adding that in 2023, the company made significant investments in expanding and upgrading its air freight fleet: “We are confident about our competitiveness and expect that the biggest return from this segment will be felt over the next few years.”
Currently, with its fleet of 14 Airbus A321F cargo aircraft, plus the addition of two more aircraft of the same model at the start of year 2024, SmartLynx Airlines offers its customers one of the newest and most efficient cargo fleets in Europe.
Growing customer portfolio
Despite all the challenges related to increasing its capacity, this year the airline provided services to more customers that the year before, increasing the number of signed contracts by 12,5%. In addition to its long-term partners, such as Turkish Airlines, Tui, airTransat and DHL, in 2023, the airline signed new contracts with one of India’s leading airlines IndiGo and implemented a joint project with the Scandinavian airline SAS.