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Ryanair eager to descend on Kaunas

  • 2005-03-02
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Ireland's Ryanair singled itself out again last week as the only company responding to the Transport Ministry's invitation for budget airlines to enter the Lithuanian market. Ryanair was one of eight carriers to receive the offer.

Vidmantas Kairys, director of the civil aviation department at the Transport Ministry, said that the discount airline offered to continue talks over terms and conditions for possible service to the country.

Transport Minister Zigmantas Balcytis also sent letters to Britain's EasyJet and BMI-baby; Germany's Air Berlin, Virgin Express and GermanWings; Belgium's Hapag Lloyd Express, and Dutch FLYbe.

In his letters the minister specified that the best place to begin operations would be at Kaunas Airport, which has a 3.25-kilometer-long runway that can accommodate any type of passenger aircraft.

There are currently no low-fare airlines operating in the country.

Ryanair had earlier expressed interest in operating flights in and out of the Baltic state, but failed when asking the state to pay up to a million litas (290,000 euros) per year for Internet tourism advertising.

Passenger traffic in Lithuania's airports surged by 39.3 percent to 1.097 million last year, while air traffic increased by 21.3 percent to 33,760 flights.

The international airport in Vilnius accounted for 90.6 percent of total passenger numbers and 70 percent of all flights.