Latvia’s Baltic Bees Jet Team will return to the airshow circuit this year, albeit with fewer aircraft than before.
The popular civilian jet team, which was once the joint-largest in Europe, has not been performing at airshows since late 2019.
Founded in 2008 and flying the L-39C Albatross, the Baltic Bees had steadily expanded two a six-ship team before the COVID-19 pandemic, and occasionally even flew with seven aircraft. However, a 2019-20 Chinese tour was interrupted by the onset of the pandemic, and many of their aircraft became stranded in China.
Others have been occupied with various military contracts or have been conducting pleasure flights in Italy, away from the team’s Latvian base.
The last of the jets stranded in China was recovered over the winter, allowing the team to resume airshow activities in 2024. Participation in two airshows has so far been confirmed: the Imekrei Raunig Flugshow in Austria and Rodzinny Piknik Lotniczy in Poland, both in July, as a two-ship and a four-ship respectively.
Airshow organisers are not being offered displays involving any more than four aircraft. It is unclear whether they are likely to expand to their former size in future seasons.