Vilnius Airport takes flyLAL to court

  • 2005-11-30
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Vilnius International Airport has filed a suit against flyLAL, Lithuania's largest air carrier, for some 12 million litas (3.5 million euros).
The airport is claiming that the airline, which was privatized earlier this year under the Lietuvos Avialinijos name (Lithuanian Airlines), owes it 21.5 million litas, though much of the sum was accrued while the government owned the company.

The airport, which is owned by the state, has also obtained a court order to freeze 100 percent of the shares of LAL Cargo, flyLAL's cargo terminal subsidiary.

"We do not rule out adding about 6 million litas to the lawsuit if [Lithuanian Airlines] fails to repay its outstanding debt according to schedule," said Kestutis Virbickas of H. Virbickas, K. Virbickas and partners, the law firm representing Vilnius Airport.

The Vilnius Regional Court ordered on Nov. 24 that the airport pay a 10 million litas deposit.

Virbickas said the airport was planning to appeal the decision.

In early November, Vilnius Airport ceased providing certain services to flyLAL, which is the airline's new brand name. Currently the airline's customers cannot use the airport's business lounge, passenger boarding bridges, special transport and a hotel.

Meanwhile, FlyLAL said it was considering flights to Estonia and has begun searching for pilots in the latter country. Flights to other new destinations are also under consideration. Mantas Vaitie-kunas, an airline spokesman, refused to comment on any new destinations. "We are now studying new possible routes, estimating the costs and expenditures," he said.

Search&Selection, a representative of LAL, has published an announcement in Estonia's press that LAL was looking to hire people with a valid commercial pilot's license.

FlyLAL, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737 and Saab 2000 planes, currently offers flights to 16 destinations.