It seems that my post last week about the SEC case at Baltia touched a nerve. I received this feedback via email and, well, it is an incredibly interesting take on the future of the company. We know that it is now planning to scrap the 747-200 and seeking a 777 instead for its operations. But there may be another angle in play. Here’s a portion of the email I received, slightly redacted:
Dear Mr. Arameans,
…One reason why Barry has been so enthusiastically communicating to prospective investors about the merits of Baltia is due to the new business plan. Yes, it was somewhat eclipsed by the CEO’s untimely passing, but the reason for scrapping the “big bird” as Barry calls it, has to do with the new route structure as well as the bid to lease and deploy Avro Liner aircraft which is a perfect fit for the carrier. With Baltimore as the new “hub” of the carrier, and the trio of high yield, high frequency destinations: Trenton, Islip, and Albany, we all believe that Baltia — essentially “BAL” + “T” / “I” / “A” (Trenton, Islip, Albany) is going to be a fast success. We don’t need to waste more rubles doing proving runs from Willow Run, and can quickly get hourly service in place between BWI and these three important markets. What is more brilliant about the plan, though, is the opportunity for connecting traffic. A businessman in Albany could fly to Islip (one-stop via BWI,) to conduct important meetings, and then fly onward to Trenton (one-stop via BWI) in time for some rest and next-day meetings.
Having heard nothing about a possible domestic operation or about acquiring an Avro Liner (a/k/a BAe-146 or RJ100) I followed up with the company to see if there’s any truth to the claims. Apparently there is.
While no definitive action has been taken down this path it is something the company is considering, in conjunction with an investor who floated the idea, to get to a certification more quickly. And, while I’m not convinced the route network is a strong one, particularly with direct competition from Southwest on the Albany and Islip routes, I do believe the company is much more likely to get to a certification point sooner with the smaller aircraft and shorter, domestic routes rather than the long-haul, foreign route.
I also wonder what they would have done had the airline picked a different name. Could have made for some intriguing route selection challenges.
The decades-long saga rolls on…
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