Blue Air,Romania’s largest airline and the second largest player on the local market, after the Hungarian rival Wizz Air, bought Moldovan national airline Air Moldova with 2.5 million euros, while taking on debt of EUR 61.2 million.
Founded on 1 January 1993, Air Moldova is the largest airline on the Moldovan market, accounting for about 50% of passenger air transport and having connections with the Commonwealth of Independent States and the European Union.
The company has seven aircraft – two Airbus A320s, two Airbus A319s and three Embraer E190s – and about 550 employees, accounting for 43% of the total number of passengers transported.
Last year, Air Moldova recorded net losses of 5.69 million euros, increasing in recent years. The national operator of the neighboring state was put up for sale under a privatization program of 12 state-owned companies. “It is necessary to inject financial sources, not at all small, because the cost of maintenance is quite high. Air Moldova needs not only injection of the company but also sources to develop the aircraft fleet”, said at the moment of launching the process Vladimir Baldovici, the director of the Public Property Agency of the Republic of Moldova.
Last month, Moldovan officials announced that only one company was interested in taking over Air Moldova. Air Moldova was now taken over by Blue Air through a company established in August this year. In that company, Blue Air was associated with Moldovan businessmen Andrei Ianovici, who controls Aergrup, and Serghei Melnik, who owns Air Jet. Blue Air was established in 2004 and has developed over the years into a pan-European air operator with operational bases in Romania, Cyprus, Italy and the United Kingdom.
In 2016, Blue Air became the largest Romanian airline, surpassing for the first time Tarom by the number of passengers transported. The low-cost company operates flights to over 100 routes, from 16 countries, with eight operational bases in Bucharest, Bacau, Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Iasi, Larnaca, Liverpool and Turin. The company targets 400 million euros annually and approximately 5 million passengers.