airBaltic (BT, Riga) has reached an agreement with Airbus to defer the delivery of 28 outstanding A220-300s, which are now due to complete by the end of 2024.

The Latvian carrier originally planned to take all 50 firm-ordered A220-300s, including the 22 it already operates, by the end of 2023. It underlined that while it has slowed down its A220 deliveries, it has also accelerated other fleet changes during the pandemic.

"The recent crisis enabled us to push forward our decision to introduce an Airbus A220-300 single type fleet. It allows us to minimize complexity and benefit from the additional efficiency provided by the aircraft. We will continue our growth and add more capacity provided by additional jets in the future as outlined by the Destination 2025 CLEAN business plan," Chief Executive Martin Gauss said in a statement.

Under the current plan, airBaltic plans to take a further three A220s by the end of 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline retired its other two types, B737-300s and DHC-8-Q400s, accelerating its transition to an all-A220 fleet, which was originally scheduled for 2022.

In addition to the 50 firm-ordered A220s, airBaltic holds options for 30 more although a decision on whether to exercise them is not due before late 2021.