airBaltic CEO Gauss: government investment will be returned "multiple times"

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airBaltic chairman and Chief Executive Officer Martin Gauss defended the government's decision to invest an additional 250 million euros in the airline May 11, promising that it would be returned to taxpayers many times over in coming years.

Outlining airBaltic's reponse to the coronavirus crisis, Gauss said  the "GDP effect" of the investment will be significant and will "return more than 25 times for the state as our shareholder."

airBaltic investment
airBaltic investment

"We will return this money to the Latvian taxpayer multiple times," Gauss said, adding that he was confident "There will be growth after this crisis".

The early use of a crisis management team within the airline, plus the use of daily briefings filmed for employees were important elements in addressing the extraordinary situation, Gauss said. He also urged other businesses to make use of social media.

"We were the first airline in Europe to stop flying completely," he said.

"You need to tell the world what you do. We will have a marketing countdown coming so you can see the days when we will start flying again," he said.

When flights do resume, passengers will be issued an envelope with a facemask and disinfectant wipes, he said. Planes on order from Airbus have not been cancelled but discussions on delivery dates are ongoing, he confirmed.

"The crisis is going to be over. There will be growth afterwards," Gauss said, explaining that when flights resume airBaltic will have 1,000 employees, but will target growth and a return to 2,000 employees.


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