News2019.09.02 14:23

Vilnius-London City flights a success, but won't turn profitable for another few years

Erika Alonderytė, BNS 2019.09.02 14:23

Direct flights from Vilnius to London City, launched by Polish airline LOT in May, have lived up to expectations, according to Vilnius Airport operator Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports). However, the route may become profitable only in several years.

The passenger load factor is going up every month, the operator said, and now stands at around 68 percent.

“It has, obviously, lived up to our expectations. The direction was important not only for the airports involved, but also for our partners, investors, the whole business environment, and also migrants, as east London has the largest Lithuanian community. Therefore, the potential for this route is really big,” Aurimas Stikliūnas, the head of aviation services at Lietuvos Oro Uostai, told BNS.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Lithuania's investment promotion agency Investuok Lietuvoje (Invest Lithuania) says the new direction has attracted a number of investors to Lithuania.

“Following the launch of the Vilnius-London City flights, companies like Moody’s, AmerisourceBergen, Revolut and Blockchain have come to Lithuania, and they stressed that this specific flight had influenced their decision to include Lithuania into the list of their considered locations,” Gediminas Koryzna told BNS.

The flight is subsidised under a special aid mechanism, the first of its kind in Europe. It took two years for the government to convince the European Commission to allow Lithuania to use the mechanism. The more seats are sold on each flight, the the state will have to pay.

“The exact compensation amount will be known in early 2020, when we know the results of the entire year 2019,” the Ministry of Economy and Innovation told BNS.

Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius said earlier that the maximum sum of the subsidy would not exceed 3 million euros a year.

The contract with LOT was signed for five years.

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