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2021.02.26 10:04

National security panel blocks Avia Solutions expansion plans at Vilnius Airport

BNS2021.02.26 10:04

A Lithuanian government commission has proposed blocking expansion plans of Avia Solutions Group, an aviation business group, at Vilnius Airport due to national security risks.

“The commission's decision is negative,” Rasa Jakilaitienė, a spokeswoman for the prime minister, told BNS on Thursday.

The plans by Avia Solutions Group, owned by Lithuanian businessman Gediminas Žiemelis, to reconstruct an aircraft repair hangar at Vilnius Airport by the government panel that included ministry representatives, law enforcement and intelligence services.

Any investment into Vilnius Airport must be vetted by the commission, since airports are in Category 1 on the list of companies key for ensuring national security.

The panel's conclusion should be submitted to the cabinet over the coming weeks.

In recent years, Lithuania's national security institutions have been cautiously assessing investments by Avia Solutions Group due to its prior operations at Moscow's Zhukovsky Airport.

The group says it cut all ties with the Zhukovsky projects back in 2018 and sold its stake in the company operating at the airport.

Avia Solutions Group earlier announced its plans to invest 7 million euros into the hangar reconstruction at Vilnius Airport.

It's not the first time when the government blocks Avia Solutions Group's expansion at Vilnius Airport due to national security reasons. In 2015, the government panel concluded that the expansion of FL Technics, part of the group, within the airport territory would not be in line with Lithuania's national security interests.