VILNIUS - The Transport Ministry has announced that Swedish airline Skyways will begin flights to Vilnius to replace some of the routes previously operated by FlyLAL and airBaltic, whose disappearance rendered Vilnius unreachable from many destinations.
Skyways will initially fly four routes from Vilnius 's to Stockholm 12 times per week, Berlin three times per week, Amsterdam 10 times per week and Copenhagen five times per week.
Though the exact launch dates on the routes are unknown, flights will commence no later than May 18.
New Vilnius International Airport CEO Tomas Vaisvila said it was a strategic landmark.
"The purpose is unchanged 's to continue to work, resulting in a direct line from Vilnius to London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona."
"We have redesigned the pricing of airport services and started active marketing actions. Our strategic goal is to be the best in the Baltic region, not only in price but also the quality of service, flexibility, flight safety, quality and customer service," he said.
Albertas Barauskas, press spokesperson for Vilnius Capital of Culture 2009 (VECC), told The Baltic Times that he was very happy about the announcement. VECC had feared suffering heavily after flights to Vilnius were all but cut.
"Of course we are happy that more flights are coming to Vilnius, because for a few years we were planning on a growth of tourism coming here and so when FlyLAL went bankrupt, it was a big problem 's this really influenced us. So we are very happy about this," Barauskas said.
"I think these cities are really good for Vilnius 's lots of tourists will come from there. We would like more cities, but we deal with what we have. We have had a lot of interest from tourists from Thailand, Germany, Spain and Great Britain," he said.
Per Nilsson, a Swedish businessman living in Vilnius, said the good news was well overdue.
"It's great news because airBaltic is the only option and they have no direct flights to Stockholm. Skyways will fly 12 times per week."
"Now it is good because you can go there over the day, which is good because you don't want to stay there overnight when you are just there for a short meeting," the businessman said.
Nilsson said more of his countrymen would come now that there were regular flights.
"A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a tour operator that works with Sweden and Lithuania and they said that lots of people want to come here, but they don't because you just can't get here."
The attraction of Skyways comes not long after Vaisvila cut the fees of the airport, which had previously been among the highest in Eastern Europe.
Vaisvila cut the fees by 1.8 times from 45 litas per ton to 25 litas per ton, as well as eliminating the night time surcharge at the airport.
Vilnius has become all but an air-transport island after the collapse of FlyLAL in January and the pull out of airBaltic on almost all of its direct routes from Vilnius.
AirBaltic cancelled its direct Vilnius routes to Stockholm, Milan and Munich in mid-April after it said the routes had become unprofitable.