Last Update: at 12:20

Plans by the government

Lithuania wants a new national airline

The largest Baltic state no longer wants to be dependent on foreign airlines. Lithuania is therefore considering the creation of a national carrier.

She was big, but she did not survive. Two years ago, the Small Planet Group filed for bankruptcy. The Lithuanian aviation company had previously expanded eagerly in Europe and founded a branch in Germany and Poland. But in the summer it went into a tailspin and had to give up.

Air Lituanica was no better off. The airline survived for two years and discontinued all flights in May 2015. Many other airlines with names like Fly Lal, Aurela or Air Lithuania had already failed before. The project Lithuanian Express was never realized. The list of failed carriers or visions could be extended at will.

No own aircraft

The largest and most populous of the Baltic States does not seem to be a good breeding ground for airlines. Nevertheless, Lithuanian Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevic is proposing the establishment of a new national airline. This would make it possible to become «independent of the constantly changing strategies of foreign airlines», the portal Delfi quotes him as saying.

But Narkevic wants to proceed cautiously. He is suggesting the creation of a virtual airline, just as Estonia tried to do with Nordica after the end of Estonian Air. The Lithuanian national airline would thus have its own brand, while another airline would provide the aircraft, the crews, the reservation system and the technology.

Air Baltic waves off

According to Narkevic, this could be ready to start as early as the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. The new airline would be financed from the state budget. Even though the start-up costs will be low, the project also contains risks.

In recent years, the Latvian Air Baltic has tried to fill gaps in Lithuania. It has continuously expanded the range of flights from Vilnius and Palanga. Its aim is to increasingly become the airline for all three Baltic States. The carrier does not think much of the project of a further airline. «It is a challenging time for aviation, which makes founding a new airline more difficult and more expensive,» a spokeswoman says to aeroTELEGRAPH.

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