The risk-sharing partnership model which was introduced by Lithuanian Airports and successfully connected Vilnius Airport with London City airport last year is continuing. Lithuanian airports and the airline airBaltic have signed a joint investment agreement, under which regular flights will operate from Vilnius Airport to the German port city of Hamburg and the capital of Portugal, Lisbon.

"With this agreement, we are taking another important step in expanding Lithuania's accessibility and flight network. The major transportation hubs of Lisbon and Hamburg will provide broader travel opportunities in Europe and open doors to further destinations. We have provided Lithuanian airports with all the tools to strengthen our position in the international accessibility network, and we will continue to seek to use the this model to ensure important connections for the country," says Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Marius Skuodis.

Flights will commence this May. The agreement with the airline airBaltic was signed after an international tender process of two regular flight operators.

Among the selection criteria were a global ticketing system for passengers, adequate seating capacity on the aircraft, flight frequency, connectivity options, and other factors necessary for convenient transportation. Direct flights from Vilnius to Lisbon will begin on May 4th. Direct flights from Vilnius to Hamburg will start on May 2nd. It is planned that the flights will operate year-round - both during the summer and winter aviation seasons - with the possibility of a few months' break during the agreed period.

It is important to mention that "airBaltic" is a codeshare partner of the airline "TAP Air Portugal", which means even better opportunities to reach further regions beyond Europe, including connections to Africa and South American countries.

"Both of these routes are highly necessary for the development of the business environment. Hamburg is also an important inbound tourism market, so Vilnius is particularly interested in the emergence of these routes. With relatively modest investments in the flight program, we expect significant attraction of both business and leisure tourists, which will eventually generate stable economic benefits," says the Mayor of Vilnius, Valdas Benkunskas.

From Vilnius to Lisbon, flights will be available on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and from Vilnius to Hamburg – on Thursdays and Sundays.

Mantas Vrubliauskas, Vice President Network Development at airBaltic: “Vilnius is one of airBaltic home cities, and we are committed to further improving the connectivity to and from city. The new routes will provide passengers with more variety when it comes to leisure and business travel. We are grateful to Lithuanian Airports and our local partners for their cooperation over the years in Lithuania.”

"We are successfully continuing our proven track record of route development with the expansion of our risk-sharing model. Together with our partners, we are investing in high-quality air connectivity between Lithuania and key European aviation hubs. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, serves as a particularly crucial link for intercontinental travel. Additionally, Hamburg, a prominent German city and port, presents significant business opportunities, facilitating the opening of new routes to destinations worldwide," says Simonas Bartkus, CEO of Lithuanian Airports.

According to data from Lithuanian airports, the demand for travel to mainland Portugal is noticeable throughout the year. Indirectly (through other airports), the flow of passengers from Lithuania to Lisbon already exceeds pre-pandemic levels, surpassing the results of 2019. Over the past few years, the flow of people traveling to Lisbon has increased annually by approximately 30 percent. This route has become one of the five most popular indirect routes from Vilnius.

Hamburg, the largest economy in Europe, has long been an important European port and transportation hub. The city is particularly relevant to a significant portion of Lithuania's economy, contributing to the freight transport and logistics sector as well as the development of trade and exports. Consequently, Lithuanian business representatives have expressed a clear need for a direct, uninterrupted connection with Hamburg.

Furthermore, the importance of this connection with Germany is further emphasized as Lithuania develops its partnership with Germany within the NATO alliance format. It is planned that Germany will deploy around 5,000 brigade troops and civilians in our country, along with their families.

Continuation of a successful model

In 2023, a new route development model, operating on the principle of risk-sharing, was introduced, allowing for long-term joint business plans, hence it is not a subsidy or direct grant to airlines.

Under this model, flights between Vilnius and London City Airport (operated by LOT Polish Airlines since last October) are already in operation.

Similarly, these two new routes, by order of the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania and the Minister of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, have also been recognized as important routes for business and inbound tourism. Therefore, they represent new opportunities to attract more foreign tourists to Lithuania.

Last updated: 2024 03 06