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Baltia Air Lines is Training Flight Crew – Preparing for First Passenger Flight

Baltia Air Lines' Boeing 747-200. Image: Baltia.

Baltia Air Lines’ Boeing 747-200 (N706BL). Image: Baltia.

When we last took a look at Baltia Air Lines they had just been accepted into the Federal Aviation Administration’s Safety Management System pilot program. They had even debuted an outstanding new livery. Today, we have even more positive news about this 24-year old airline start-up. They are now training their first flight crews!

Earlier this week, Baltia issued a statement to their investors and the world that they have taken another step towards full operation.

A Baltia Air Lines 747 undergoing a C-check in Wisconsin. Photo by Baltia Air Lines

A Baltia Air Lines 747-200 (N706BL) undergoing a C-check in Wisconsin. Photo by Baltia Air Lines

Many of you may be curious about Baltia’s goal. Their dream is to become a leading airline between the United States and the former Soviet Republics’ markets. They have announced that they will be based at New York’s JFK airport and that their initial route will be from there to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo International Airport (LED).

Better still, they are going to do this with a classic Boeing 747-200.

Some investors do not believe that Baltia Air Lines will ever get off the ground and have voiced their concerns on the company’s Facebook page. While their concerns are valid, we have to point out that Baltia Air Lines has never been closer to liftoff than they are right now.

Actually, they have already taken flight – sort of. This year, they started conducting business, operating a Cessna Citation on various routes from Oscoda, Michigan. A far cry from the 747-200, but at least a first step.

Baltia Wing View

The wing view of the 747-200 (N706BL) undergoing heavy maintenance in Wisconsin. Photo by Baltia Air Lines

As a “certified” classic aircraft aficionado and AirlineReporter.com’s Russian Aviation expert, the idea of a U.S. airline operating a 742 to Russia totally thrills me.  As an aviation economist, I am also confident that their business model is unorthodox, but potentially successful.

The low acquisition cost of these classic 747s allows Baltia much more freedom in configuration and utilization. The lower monthly payments (if any) on the airframes will easily offset any differential in fuel costs they may face. If they are indeed going for a “luxury” or “boutique” airline image, they will likely be able to command an equal, if not slightly higher, yield as their competition. If they can spread the word and get forward bookings, I do not see any unique concerns they could face.

The engines for Baltia Air Lines' new 747 await attachment. Photo by Baltia Air Lines

The engines for Baltia Air Lines’ “new” 747 await attachment. Photo by Baltia Air Lines

I remain hopeful for Baltia. One way or another, I hope to find myself on their very first flight.

BALTIA AIR LINES PHOTO GALLERY:

 Bernie Leighton – Correspondent 

Bernie has traveled around the world to learn about, experience & photograph different types of planes. Bernie will go anywhere to fly on anything. He spent four years in Australia learning about how to run an airline, while putting his learning into practice by mileage running around the world. You can usually find Bernie in his natural habitat: an airport.

 @PowerToTheThird | Flickr

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