At night on the 26th of April, one of the largest passenger aircraftBoeing 767 took off from Vilnius Airport. The capital’s air gates have already served similar size aircraft, however this Boeing 767 marked the beginning of regular charter long-range flights in the history of Lithuanian Airports.
Although flights to far-away countries for numerous passenger of our country have been associated with the dream country of America located across the Atlantic, an aircraft capable of covering far more kilometres was launched into operation. For comparison, the distance to the USA Eastern Coast, New York, is 6950 km, whereas to Madagascar – 8452 km.
According to the Head of Lithuanian Airports Aviation Services Division Aurimas Stikliūnas, the Vilnius air gates will provide all operational capacities necessary for serving these long-range flights.
“We are very pleased with this historical event at Vilnius Airport. This is a great possibility for our country’s travellers to get to know this exotic country – Madagascar - from near. We are also very pleased that larger aircrafts are visiting our capital’s air gate more frequently,” stated Mr. Stikliūnas.
Previously, Vilnius Airport has served similar size or even bigger aircrafts. Most often, these were different international or military flights. When flying with large aircrafts, such as Boeing 747 or the mentioned Boeing 767, representatives of top-level authorities of foreign countries come to Lithuania. The aircraft Airbus A330-200F carrying cargoes lands twice a week in Vilnius.
It is claimed that the aircrafts Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, perhaps mostly taking off from the Vilnius Airport, accommodate about 180 passengers, whereas the Boeing 767 that flew off to Madagascar accommodates as many as 259 economy class and 8 business class seats.
A flight to Madagascar is organized by the tour operator “ITAKA Lietuva” in cooperation with the Italian airline “Blue Panorama Airlines”.
“ITAKA Lietuva” has been flying holidaymakers from the Vilnius Airport since last year. From this spring, the tour operator has started organising vacation flights also from Kaunas. The company’s CEO Dominik Milowski assesses the established partnership very positively.
“Our cooperation that has existed for a year proceeds very smoothly. I have to acknowledge a deep insight of the Vilnius air gates and necessary offers when talking about both, technical procedures of flights, and marketing actions at the airport,” told Mr. Milowski.
The leader of “ITAKA Lietuva” notes that the first long-range aircraft whose passengers were seen off with greetings and surprises, took off by achieving a 100 percent seat occupancy indicator. According to him, it has been decided to offer vacations to Lithuanian travellers in the distant Nosy Be Island in Madagascar having regard to several circumstances.
“We have experience in organising tours with large aircrafts when flying from Polish airports. Therefore, we decided to try and offer such flights to Lithuanian travellers, especially, since no long-range charter direct flights have been organised from Vilnius. On the other hand, we know that Lithuanian travellers are taking vacation trips to exotic countries more often. Thus, we see a potential in organising such exclusive tours,” told Mr. Milowski.
The flight from Vilnius to the Nosy Be Island in Madagascar lasts for 11 hours.
About Lithuanian Airports
The Lithuanian network of airports includes three airports in Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga. During 2018, they served 6.3 million passengers and 61 thousand flights. During the winter season, 14 airline companies organize flights in 86 directions to 67 cities in 27 countries. Based on data of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe), Lithuanian airports contribute to the Lithuania’s GDP by 2.5 percent.