VILNIUS – As Lithuania mulls acquiring a stake airBaltic, Latvia's national airline, Lithuanian Transport and Communications Minister Marius Skuodis has met with the company's CEO and discussed Lithuanian's greater involvement and cooperation.
"The number and frequency of flights is my priority No 1. (...) Ways of cooperation is a secondary issue," the minister told BNS on Friday in Klaipeda after he met with airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss in Riga on Thursday.
The number of the Latvian company's planes meant for Lithuania will only grow and the company will continue to expand, Skuodis said.
Earlier in January, he said that Lithuania was considering acquiring a stake in airBaltic, saying that the possible terms of the deal were being discussed to ensure that part of the Latvian company's planes were based in Lithuania.
Simonas Bartkus, CEO of Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports, LTOU), the airport operator in Lithuania, said earlier that airBaltic could offer direct flights from Lithuania to destinations further afield, such as Central Asia, as well as to other German cities as the growing potential of these destinations is linked to the deployment of a German brigade in Lithuania and the number of German tourists visiting to the Baltic states.
AirBaltic is the third largest air carrier in Lithuania and two of its direct-flight aircraft are based in Vilnius, Bartkus said.
Offering flights from all three Baltic capitals, airBaltic gears up for an initial public offering in the second half of this year. Gauss has recently told 15min that any share sale is subject to the Latvian government's decisions.
The State of Latvia owns 97.97 percent of airBaltic shares, and the rest belongs to Aircraft Leasing 1, a company owned by Danish investor Lars Thuesen.