airBaltic confirms Bombardier fleet extension despite tariffs row

airBaltic, Latvia's flag-carrier airline, has confirmed its plan to lease at least fourteen C Series jets from Canada's Bombardier amid a tariffs row that has escalated after a US Commerce Department preliminary decision to impose steep duties on Bombardier jets in the US.

"The operations of Latvian airline airBaltic are not affected by the trade row between Bombardier and Boeing," the airline told LSM, touting the past operational record of the Bombardier planes currently in its fleet.

The airline confirmed a go-ahead with plans to lease at least fourteen more Bombardier C Series jets to replace the current Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft, also from Bombardier.

"It is currently planned that the next stage of the upgrade of the fleet will see at least fourteen more Bombardier C Series being ordered to replace Q400 NextGen [aircraft]," airBaltic said.

"Currently airBaltic are still discussing agreement details with the manufacturer and more information will be provided when it's available," the airline said.

On September 27 the US Commerce Department’s issued a preliminary decision to levy import duties of 220 percent on Bombardier jets over competitor claims of improper subsidies, potentially jeopardizing a sale of at least 75 jets to Delta Airlines with a list value of more than $5 billion, reported Bloomberg.

The decision was decried in Canada as well as in the United Kingdom, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May saying she was “bitterly dissapointed” with the duties, which could hurt jobs at a Bombardier plant in Northern Ireland.

Currently the airBaltic fleet includes seven Bombardier CS300 jets, twelve Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft, and eleven Boeing 737 planes.

The airline has orders for thirteen more CS300 aircraft which should enter the airBaltic fleet by 2019.

airBaltic plans to up its number of airplanes from 31 to 34 by 2021. 

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