Lithuanian govt panel suggests blocking Avia Solutions Group expansion at Vilnius Airport

  • 2021-02-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government's commission vetting deals important to national security on Thursday proposed blocking expansion plans by Avia Solutions Group, an aviation business group, at Vilnius Airport due to national security risks.

"The commission's decision is negative," Rasa Jakilaitiene, spokeswoman for the prime minister, told BNS on Thursday.

The plans by Avia Solutions Group, owned by Lithuanian businessman Gediminas Ziemelis, to reconstruct a hangar at Vilnius Airport where aircraft are serviced and repaired were considered by the government panel involving representatives of various ministries, law enforcement and intelligence services.

Any investment into Vilnius Airport gets into its focus as 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 upcoming weeks.

In recent years, Lithuania's national security institutions have been cautiously assessing investments by Avia Solutions Group, owned by Lithuanian businessman Gedimins Ziemelis, due to its prior activity 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 the airport.

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

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