FlyLAL wants license back

  • 2009-02-18
  • By Adam Mullett

VILNIUS - Bankrupt airline FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines has turned to the courts to recover its flight license, which was suspended by the Ministry of Transport after the company's financial difficulties came to light.
The carrier, controlled by a group of local businessmen, claims both the Civil Aviation Administration and the Ministry of Transport failed to adequately justify their decisions on the suspension of the license.
"They don't have the right 's the law is clearly written. Their motivation is that we have a problem with resources and this is a threat to security, but they don't know 's they would need to do an audit and then we would have to defend it. But this has been done without any kind of warning and audit," FlyLAL CEO, Vytautas Kaikaris told The Baltic Times about their complaints.

Vice Minister of Transport Arunas Staras told TBT they had suspended the license to force the company to act.
"The main reason why we did this was the financial inability of FlyLAL and if they want to establish their operations, they need to find a new investor or a big amount of money. If this happens, we will allow them to fly."

"When a company doesn't have enough money for salaries and fuel, it is difficult to see that this company will continue. They have finished operating after they couldn't pay Vilnius International Airport," Staras said.
FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines has asked the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court to annul the decisions taken by the Civil Aviation Administration and the Ministry of Transport.

Neither institution notified the carrier of any problems in flight safety, which would have enabled authorities to suspend the carrier's certificate or the flight license, Kaikaris said in a statement.
Last September FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines obtained an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certificate proving the company's operations were compliant with all security standards set forth by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

"FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines was entered into the IOSA register based on the conclusions of independent auditors, which is the best proof that the company was working responsibly and safely," Kaikaris said.
Kaikaris said FlyLAL still needs its license because it is still in talks with potential investors who could revive the company.
"Actually we are speaking to potential investors on a weekly basis. There are people who have interest and people who are interested in starting it again. If they hear about this, then they won't be interested anymore," he said.

Kaikaris doesn't hold hopes that money will come soon saying the process is long and difficult to find a buyer.
"I can confirm that there is interest from different companies, but simply don't know how it will go. They need to make their own calculations and do their due diligence and all this takes time."
FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines grounded all regular flights from Jan. 17 after posting close to 100 million litas (29 million euros) in losses for 2008.

Vilnius currently has no patron airline after FlyLAL filed bankruptcy.