Lithuanian Airports announces that a formal agreement has been signed to extend direct scheduled flights between Vilnius and London City Airports, which are important for Lithuanian business. The contract with LOT Polish Airlines is extended from 1 May to 30 September this year.
The extended agreement will continue to allow business and tourism representatives, as well as the Lithuanian community living in the UK, to travel quickly and conveniently between the two cities. Under the agreement reached, the route has been extended for the same period of time that it was previously suspended during the pandemic.
Flights to one of Lithuania's priority destinations are operated 6 times a week with modern Embraer aircraft.
The City of London is the financial centre of the UK capital and is very easily accessible from the nearby airport. The airport is just 10 km from the business centres of Canary Wharf and the City, a distance that can be easily covered by bypassing traffic jams.
"LOT Polish Airlines“ is the winner of a public tender launched by the Lithuanian Government in 2018, which allows states to support flights of special interest within the European Union. Flights between Vilnius and the City of London started on 1 May 2019.
The project is one of the European Commission's regulatory exemptions allowing an airline to receive state aid for the operation of a flight. It is important to note that once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, funding under this model cannot be extended as it can only apply within the EU.
A new incentive model is under preparation
Lithuanian Airports reminds that one of the company's main objectives for 2023 is to develop and start implementing a new, additional (to the existing measures) flight promotion model based on risk sharing between the air carrier and the state. The legal and financial model for its implementation is currently being prepared and preliminary discussions with airlines are under way.
According to a preliminary assessment, with the amount of investment allocated from the State budget (around €2 million), it is realistic to launch the incentive model on up to two priority scheduled destinations.
It is argued that this incentive model will only work if long-term investment is made on an annual basis for at least two or three years.
The new incentive model is expected to start in the second half of 2023.