Nordica only moved 22,000 passengers last year, mostly in norther Sweden. How have you done this year?
NAG catered to a lot more passengers. Those 22,000 were just a part of the group’s work – people serviced under the Nordica trademark. Looking only at Nordica, there were 60,000 annual passengers in northern Sweden before the pandemic in 2019. That figure shrank threefold last year. We are expecting to ferry 35,000-40,000 passengers this year. But it mostly hinges on the spread of the virus and vaccination progress.
We also operate charters for sports associations and delegations. Several Estonian companies organize motivational trips for their employees and partners. It is a growing trend.
You recently participated in tenders in Ireland and Finland? How did you fare and where else have you applied?
Unfortunately, we were not victorious. Demand is for the cheapest price, while I hope customers will start looking at age of aircraft, quality certificates etc. in the future. We are set to participate in tenders in Spain and Central Europe – Austria, Germany and France.
Nordica recently secured its IATA code. What is the benefit?
Our new and future-oriented project is introducing our own commercial platform that will allow us to sell tickets independently. For that purpose, we applied for an aviation business certificate and an IATA code, with Nordica designated ND.
We used Adria’s code in 2015 and worked with Polish LOT since 2016. Our first flight under our own Nordica ND code will take place in Sweden in August. The plan is to share the code with others and generate revenue that way. We would be offering the service to other, largely virtual airlines that lack their own code and for whom it makes no sense to acquire one. We have sent corresponding offers to four smaller airlines.
What are the aircraft used by NAG?
We are currently flying 16 leased aircraft nine of which are CRJ and seven ATR planes. One aircraft is currently under the Nordica trademark. The rest of our fleet is used by service export company Regional Jet that uses the Xfly trademark. We use Xfly planes and crews to service regular flights tenders that come our way.
Xfly is also operating aircraft for SAS and LOT and other airlines as necessary. Future success at tenders will see us sell tickets under the Nordica trademark and procure flights from Xfly. The latter is the largest ever Estonian aviation company in terms of number of aircraft and flights volume. Estonia Air was making use of nine aircraft in its heyday.