Airlines are hesitant to resume flights in absence of a clear safety criteria from the Lithuanian government, says the CEO of the country’s airports.
Germany’s Lufhansa is the first airline to relaunch regular flights from Vilnius, while some other carriers have also submitted applications to the government.
According to Marius Gelzinis, the CEO of Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), Hungary’s Wizz Air and Belarus’ Belavia have submitted applications to resume flights from Lithuania, but neither the Foreign Ministry nor the cabinet have approved them yet.
There is a lack of clarity, which destinations are safe to fly to, according to Gelzinis.
“There’re no criteria as to which country is safe. There’s no list of countries and these criteria are decided on a case-by-case basis,” Gelzinis said.
“This is worrying for airlines, because they want to know clearly whether it’s still worthwhile for them to negotiate with us, or they should instead be looking for other countries to start flights,” he added.
Wizz Air has expressed interest to relaunch flights to London in the UK, Alesund and Bergen in Norwaw, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Belund in Denmark, Kyiv in Ukraine and Turku in Finland, while Belavia would fly between Vilnius and Minsk in Belarus, according to Gelzinis.
“SAS has not yet made any decisions on flights to Copenhagen in late May. They’re waiting for clearer selection criteria,” he said.
AirBaltic also filed an application. The government allowed the Latvian airline to relaunch flights from Vilnius to Riga next Monday, and to Tallinn a week later.
Lithuania closed its airspace to passenger flights and ferries on April 4. It lifted the ban at the end of April. (LRT/Business World Magazine)