Sonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9783 times:
Information on preconditions before the current situation:
Lithuanian Airlines, previously a state held company, was privatised by a Lithuanian consortium and renamed FlyLAL - Lithuanian Airlines several years ago. While airline previously had detrimental and profitable periods and once was the largest carrier in the Baltic States, troubles started with the Lithuania's accession to European Union (May 1st 2004), when Latvian national air company (49% shares - SAS, 51% - Latvian government) started to operate from Vilnius. Air Baltic frequently flew the same routes as FlyLAL and abandoned them quickly if FlyLAL stopped flying them (such as happened with Vilnius-Brusseles and Vilnius-Dublin routes in 2008); also, Air Baltic is subsidised by Latvian government through Riga Airport, which applies 80% lower fees for Air Baltic therefore making connecting flights via Riga cheaper than direct flights from Vilnius and helping to meet the Latvia's goal of promoting Riga as a transit airport between east and west.
Vilnius airport, on the other hand, was uncooperative, levied relatively large fees, did not permit FlyLAL to build private terminal in which it claimed to have hoped to operate connecting flights after planned expansion (advertisement of this project could be found here if it is still not taken down by the time you read it: http://www.vilniusairport.lt/index.php?sector=2 ; this website is owned by FlyLAL). The director of Vilnius airport who became relatively infamous not only for reasons was changed with the change of government in 2008 and the building of new terminal was permitted. Also, after a long procedure court arrested 200 million worth Air Baltic assets on FlyLAL claim of damages by illegal competition due to subsidies (however, it turned out Air Baltic had little assets; similar claim against Air Baltic previously was issued by British Airways if I am correct because of London-Riga route, but that time British Airways renounced the claim later).
However, such changes were too late, FlyLAL had 30 million debts (much of them to Vilnius airport, which threatened not to permit FlyLAL to land anymore, but temporary solution was found in December); owners of FlyLAL - Lithuanian Airlines offered Lithuanian government company's shares for 1 Litas, but government, in crisis itself, refused to buy the company. In mid-January it was announced that a Swiss company will buy FlyLAL - Lithuanian Airlines for 2.5 million Litas, but, according to the FlyLAL website, the Swiss company defaulted from its obligations and therefore FlyLAL flights were grounded.
This situation only concerns FlyLAL - Lithuanian Airlines; FlyLAL Charters still flies as usual, other companies in the group presumably will continue operations as well (aircraft maintenance, ground service, training and other companies).
Sonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 9625 times:
Alm1 - And what are those reasons in your opinion?
Alessandro - There was once another state company Air Lithuania which operated from Kaunas and Palanga; it was privatised earlier and went bankrupt. Afterwards, FlyLAL operated some flights from Palanga, but not from Kaunas. I am not sure if FlyLAL ever considered relocating to Kaunas, however Lithuanian branch of Air Baltic indeed did (however it may change with new policies in Vilnius airport and the grounding of FlyLAL; Vilnius airport announces 50% lower fees for the first year for new routes). Kaunas airport is now served by low cost airlines (RyanAir, but previously also Wizz Air).
BT001 From Latvia, joined Aug 2006, 120 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 9595 times:
Quoting Sonic (Reply 2): troubles started with the Lithuania's accession to European Union (May 1st 2004), when Latvian national air company (49% shares - SAS, 51% - Latvian government) started to operate from Vilnius.
right you are - troubles started once competition started this is business you know.
Thomas_Jaeger From Switzerland, joined Apr 2002, 2278 posts, RR: 31 Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 9385 times:
BT currently only flies from VNO to ARN, CPH, MUC, MXP, RIX and TLL right now. But they had alredy planned to resume lots of routes again from the summer season, so I would assume they will try to get back into the market quickly now to fill the void.
Swiss aviation news junkie living all over the place
Sonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1 Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 9385 times:
Alm1 - The name of the Swiss company is published in their website - SCH Swiss Capital Holding AG. I am not related anyhow to the management of FlyLAL myself, so what I wrote in the previous messages is only information gathered from media, press releases, etc. rather than official opinion of FlyLAL.
Sukhoi - I doubt it is final information that Air Baltic leaves Vilnius; there were plans to move some or most Air Baltic flights to Kaunas, but for this season at least they still sell tickets from Vilnius.
44k From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 309 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8887 times:
Certainly a huge blow to the aviation industry in Lithuania. I have flown FlyLAL several times in the last 5 years and have noticed their steady decline.
I recall in 2004 they were still serving food in economy and the cabins were very well maintained with losts of space and legroom. The last time I flew on of their Saab's (2008) I was scared for my life. The plane was beyond drity and used up, with seats falling apart.
Then, recently, I flew their 737..what a contrast from a few years back! I could not believe how little legspace there was, by far the most cramped cabin I have ever been in. The service was quite poor too, not even a free drink.
Nevertheless, its a shame they are gone. This will make my getting from-to Lithuania much harder. I hope to see BA take on a LON-VNO route.
RIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 774 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (4 years 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7691 times:
One of the final downfalls for FlyLAL was when one of their planes was denied departure from RIX just recently for not paying THC and possibly landing fees to the Riga Airport authorities. You could see the writing on the wall that this would not turn out good.
Although Riga Airport (RIX) refused to mention the sum of all the outstanding fees owed from the past, it said in a statement that they were "significant." So, we're not just talking about one departure fee from a recognized airline. Must have accumulated over a period of time.
airBaltic (BT) and their mother beacon SAS (SK) are engaging in a ruthless marketing ploy to make RIX a sort of a hub for SK transfers to the Eastern part of the globe. Who knows, it might work, but then again SK is not the steadiest of rocks today.
Sorry that I can't be more informative, but I've recently moved back to the U.S.
BT001 From Latvia, joined Aug 2006, 120 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (4 years 5 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6598 times:
Quoting RIXrat (Reply 18): airBaltic (BT) and their mother beacon SAS (SK) are engaging in a ruthless marketing ploy to make RIX a sort of a hub for SK transfers to the Eastern part of the globe. Who knows, it might work, but then again SK is not the steadiest of rocks today.
what are you talking about?? SK shares will be sold to BT management on last day of January.