Baltic Outlook asked Wolfgang Reuss, airBaltic’s senior vicepresident in network planning, about the introduction of the airline’s new fleet of Bombardier CS300 aircraft.

You started to work at airBaltic when the arrival of the new CS300 was relatively close at hand. Did you foresee the scale of the work to be done in introducing the new fleet, and did this play a role in your decision to join airBaltic?

Yes, I started working at airBaltic one year ago, when the preparations for introducing the CS300 were ramping up. The closer we get to the actual delivery of our first aircraft this autumn, the more we have to do. It is indeed a lot of work for all of the departments, but at the same time, this is a very special and motivating project that has involved a true team effort, as it spans across all departments of our company.
The introduction of the CS300 as such didn’t play a direct role in my decision to join airBaltic, but it was one of many signs that this is a dynamic, modern and customer-focused airline. The airline’s innovative spirit was one of my main motivations for joining airBaltic.

It depends on the airline, but usually the renewal of a fleet comes once every 20 years. Have you already been involved in a similar fleet introduction while working elsewhere?

I had been involved in refleeting, fleet-planning and procurement projects before, but the introduction of a brand new aircraft to an airline that will be the very first to use it is extremely exciting, and certainly doesn’t happen every day.

What would be the most important benefit of the CS300 for you as a passenger?

I had the chance to see a prototype of the smaller CS100 when it was here in Riga last year, and that was already a very spacious aircraft, with bigger windows than many other planes currently in operation and a vast improvement in terms of comfort. In the CS300, which is even larger, spaciousness will be the first feature that our customers will immediately notice when boarding one of our new aircraft. 

The CS300 is a leader in its class in many aspects. What is the most important benefit of the CS300 for you as a senior network planner for the airline?

Reduced fuel consumption and other economic factors play a crucial role in network planning. These will further improve the competitiveness of our product and network.

What changes will result to airBaltic’s network once the CS300 is completely phased in?

We will gradually replace our Boeing 737s with the CS300, which will result in an undisputedly improved customer experience in many respects, mainly in terms of comfort and space. In addition, the new aircraft will be able to fly further without refuelling, which means that we have quite a few surprises in store during the coming years!

And finally, to which destination would you like to fly first on airBaltic’s new CS300?

Let me keep that to myself. Otherwise, I would already reveal the launch destination of the CS300 at airBaltic. BO