Economy & Politics: The Latvian airline airBaltic has published unaudited consolidated financial results for the first six months of 2020

Image: airBaltic Boeing 737 at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Recorded by johanwiden69 - pixabay. Today airBaltic has still only the modern and fuel efficient Airbus A220-300 in service. Double click on the image to enlarge.

Because of the corona crisis and the resulting ban on operations, which lasted 62 days, the Latvian airline airBaltic had to accept severe losses in sales and passenger numbers in the first half of 2020. This is shown by the quarterly figures published on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020. In the first half of 2020, sales fell from € 219.5 million in the same period of 2019 to € 82.5 million. The number of passengers fell from 2.2 million to 800,000 over the same period. The loss amounts to € 184.8 million in the first half of 2020 compared to € 26.6 million in the first half of 2019. airBaltic is a stock corporation that is now slightly more than 96 percent owned by the Latvian state due to corona factors.

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Economy & Politics: The Latvian airline airBaltic is postponing the acquisition of new A220 NEO aircraft

Image: airBaltic Boeing 737 at Tallinn Airport. Recorded in August 2013. Today airBaltic has still only the modern and fuel efficient Airbus A220-300 in service. Double click on the image to enlarge.

The Latvian airline airBaltic is postponing the acquisition of new A220 NEO aircraft. It is also the only remaining scheduled airline in the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. airBaltic currently only operates a fleet of 22 Airbus A220-300s – formerly Bombardier C-Series – on medium-haul routes. AirBaltic originally wanted to fleet 28 additional A220-300s by 2023. But then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which also hit airBaltic very hard and practically overnight. It has been revealed that airBaltic has reached an agreement with Airbus to postpone delivery of the 28 A220-30 units to 2024, likely in the hope that the air travel market will pick up again then.

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Travel & Tourism: Why the Germans are no longer allowed to enter Latvia or have to go into quarantine

Image: The Central Market in Rīga. Recorded in October 2014. Double click on the image to enlarge.

Latvia has a rigid policy towards foreigners since the outbreak of COVID-19. There has never been a social lock down in this country like in Germany, but the small Baltic country has been largely free of the virus since March 2020 through border closings and operating bans for the Riga airport and a temporary ban on cross-border traffic. The number of cases of COVID-19 has therefore so far been limited. For people entering Latvia, the rule is that no more than 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants may be infected in the country of origin. Germany exceeded this threshold with 16.3 per 100,000 inhabitants last Friday.

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Economy & Politics: What the results of the EU Corona Summit mean for Latvia financially

Image: The global economy is suffering from the corona crisis, including Latvia. Port facility in the Sarkandaugava district in Rīga. Picture taken 2014. Double click on the image to enlarge.

At a special summit on July 21, 2020, the representatives of the EU countries agreed on the largest financial package in their history in the fight against the corona economic crisis. The package comprises a total of 1.8 trillion euros – thereof 1074 billion euros for the next seven-year budget and 750 billion euros for an economic and investment program to counter the economic consequences of the pandemic crisis. For this, debts are being raised on a large scale for the 27 member states, then the money is redistributed and repaid together over decades.

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Economy & Politics: From now on visitors in Latvia have to fill out questionnaires

The easiest way to get from Germany to Latvia is to fly. High above the clouds over Latvia with LUFTHANSA. The Latvian government has decided that travelers crossing the border to Latvia with commercial carriers such as buses, trains and airlines will be required to complete a questionnaire from July 16, 2020. Photo © 2006 by Birk Karsten Ecke. Click on the image to enlarge it.

The Latvian government has decided that travelers crossing the Latvian border with commercial travel companies, such as buses, ferries, trains and airlines, will be required to complete a questionnaire from July 16, 2020. See https://www.mk.gov.lv/en/content/covid-19. According to the Cabinet of Ministers, the data will be used to fight against the corona pandemic. So far, the Baltic States have survived the corona epidemic with only a few sick, although the economic damage is enormous. Travelers from countries with more than 16 sufferers per 100,000 inhabitants are still not allowed to enter or have to go into quarantine for two weeks. This quarantine will be  controlled by the Latvian police.

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Economy & Politics: Holidays in Latvia are now at least theoretically possible again, at least for citizens of some European countries

Image: The ruins of the medieval Livonian knight's castle in Sigulda, Latvia. Photo © 2018 by Birk Karsten Ecke. Click on the image to enlarge it.

On June 2, 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers of the State of Latvia decided that from June 3, 2020 the list of countries from which immigrants do not have to comply with the 14-day self-isolation will be expanded. For Latvian citizens, permanent residents and foreigners who have not visited countries other than Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia in the past 14 days. The same applies to countries with a cumulative number of 15 people per 100,000 inhabitants with Covid-19 cases within the last 14 days. Self-isolation is still a must for those arriving from countries outside the Schengen area or associated countries. Latvia is therefore following Estonia’s approach to boost tourism and economy after the crisis.

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Economy & Politics: The consequences of the corona crisis for the Latvian economy and its employees

Image: The SWEDBANK tower at the left bank of the Daugava river in Rīga. Image created in December 2013. Click on the image to enlarge it.

In a virtual press conference on April 22, 2020, Kaspars Rozkalns, the head of the Latvian State Investment and Development Agency LIIA, made the statement that the corona crisis will reduce exports of the small European country by 20 to 30 percent compared to to last year. At the same conference, Latvian Minister of Economy Janis Vitenbergs predicted an overall economic recession of about 8 percent. Logically, the tourism sector and automotive suppliers are particularly affected by the global economic development.

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Reisen & Tourismus: Der lettische Carrier airBaltic stellt wegen Coronavirus und COVID-19 vorübergehend alle internationalen Flugverbindungen ein

Bild: Die Airline airBaltic stellt ab dem 17.03.2020 alle internationalen Flüge ein. Moderne Bombardier C-Series bzw. Airbus A220 Maschine der airBaltic. Aufnahme vom Oktober 2017. Klicken Sie auf das Bild um es zu vergrößern.

airBaltic mit Sitz in der lettischen Hauptstadt Rīga ist die größte Airline der drei baltischen Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen. Sie ist ein bedeutender Carrier für Flugreisende aus Ost-, Mittel- und Nordeuropa in die baltischen Staaten. airBaltic betreibt eine Flotte von 38 Flugzeugen und befördert jährlich mehr als 3.5 Millionen Fluggäste. Die Airline ist durch das Coronavirus in starkem Maße betroffen. Die Regierung der Republik Lettland hat beschlossen, die Sicherheitsmaßnahmen zu verschärfen und den internationalen Flugverkehr ab dem 17. März einzustellen, um die Verbreitung von Coronavirus zu begrenzen. Alle Verbindungen von airBaltic werden vorübergehend vom 17. März bis einschließlich 14. April 2020 unterbrochen, einschließlich der Verbindungen von airBaltic von Estland und Litauen.

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Travel & Tourism: Travel restrictions due to coronavirus COVID-19 of the Baltic States – Estonia / Latvia / Lithuania

Image: A little nostalgic feeling of the Eastern Bloc. Advertising in Tallinn. Photo from August 2012. Click on the image to enlarge it.

The COVID-19 coronavirus now also significantly limits travel within the Schengen zone. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also largely closed off their borders. As a business traveler or tourist there is currently hardly any way to enter these countries. The information relates to the status of Sunday, March 15th, 2020 – Source: Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. and the websites of the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The latest information is always at the top under the respective country.

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Reisen & Tourismus: Reisebeschränkungen wegen Coronavirus COVID-19 der baltischen Staaten – Estland / Lettland / Litauen

Bild: Ein wenig Ostalgie. Werbung in Tallinn. Aufnahme vom August 2012. Klicken Sie auf das Bild, um es zu vergrößern.

Das Coronavirus COVID-19 schränkt mittlerweile auch das Reisen innerhalb der Schengenzone deutlich ein. Auch die baltischen Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen haben ihre Grenzen weitgehend abgeschottet. Als Geschäftsreisender oder Tourist gibt es im Moment kaum noch eine Möglichkeit in diese Länder einzureisen. Die Informationen beziehen sich auf den Stand von Sonntag, 15.03.2020 – Quelle: Auswärtiges Amt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. sowie die Internetseiten der Regierungen Estlands, Lettlands und Litauen. Die neueste Informationen stehen immer oben unter dem jeweiligen Land.

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Reisen & Tourismus: Vorerst müssen Reisende aus Deutschland nach der Einreise in Lettland und Litauen in Quarantäne

Bild: Litauisches Dorf an der Grenze zu Polen bei Marijampolė. Aufnahme vom August 2011.

Wer wirklich geglaubt hat, dass das Coronavirus COVID-19 an Deutschland vorbeigeht, hat sich gründlich geirrt. Die Anzahl der infizierten Personen beträgt Stand Freitag, 14.03.2020, deutlich über 3.600. Keines der 16 Bundesländer ist von Infizierten verschont geblieben. Unsere Nachbarstaaten haben mittlerweile Einreisebeschränkungen oder Einreiseverbote und Quarantänemaßnahmen erlassen. Das betrifft seit Freitag, 13.03.2020, auch die baltischen Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen (Quelle: Auswärtiges Amt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).

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