Lithuania Gains FAA Approval for Airlines to Operate in US Airspace

Lithuania's aviation industry soars as FAA grants approval for Lithuanian airlines to fly to and within the US, creating new opportunities for expansion and global competitiveness.

Shivani Chauhan
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Lithuania Gains FAA Approval for Airlines to Operate in US Airspace

Lithuania Gains FAA Approval for Airlines to Operate in US Airspace

Lithuania has achieved a significant milestone in its aviation industry as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted approval for airlines and aircraft registered in the country to fly to and within the United States. The announcement, made by Lithuania's Minister of Transport and Communications, Marius Skuodis, on April 15, 2024, comes after the country successfully completed the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment and was assigned the top Category 1 ranking.

This development creates favorable conditions for Lithuanian airlines to conduct transatlantic operations and increases the country's competitiveness in the global aviation market. According to Skuodis, nine Lithuanian-registered companies could benefit from this new position, enabling them to operate flights to the US not only from Lithuania but also from other countries.

The FAA's audit process evaluates a country's compliance with international civil aviation safety standards before granting the right to operate new flights to US territory. Lithuania's achievement of Category 1 status was the result of almost three years of intensive work by the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications and relevant institutions to harmonize various procedures and regulations.

Why this matters: Lithuania's access to US airspace could help alleviate the current airline capacity challenges by allowing Lithuanian airlines to operate flights to and within the United States. This development also creates opportunities for Lithuanian airlines to offer their spare capacity to other carriers, including those based in the US, particularly in light of the current capacity shortage in the aviation industry.

While no Lithuanian airlines are currently flying commercially, the country has ten active airlines, including subsidiaries of larger groups, that could potentially take advantage of this opportunity. The current capacity shortage in the aviation industry, particularly due to issues with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines powering Airbus A320neo family aircraft, could provide an opening for Lithuanian airlines to offer their services.

In a related development, KlasJet, a charter company and part of the Avia Solutions Group, has entered a long-term contract with Marabu Airlines to lease two Boeing 737-800 aircraft for flights from Munich Airport to popular summer holiday destinations. This partnership builds on their successful ad-hoc collaborations from the previous summer. KlasJet operates a fleet of 14 aircraft, including various Boeing 737 models, while Avia Solutions Group, the world's largest ACMI provider, owns KlasJet and operates a fleet of 212 aircraft, offering a range of aviation services.

Minister Skuodis expressed his satisfaction with the FAA's decision, stating, "This is a significant achievement for Lithuania's aviation industry, and it opens up new opportunities for our airlines to expand their operations and compete on a global scale. We look forward to seeing Lithuanian aircraft flying in US skies and strengthening the ties between our two countries."

Key Takeaways

  • Lithuania granted FAA Category 1 status, allowing flights to/within US.
  • 9 Lithuanian airlines can now operate flights to the US from anywhere.
  • FAA audit evaluated Lithuania's compliance with aviation safety standards.
  • This development could help address airline capacity challenges in the US.
  • KlasJet leased 2 Boeing 737-800s to Marabu Airlines for summer flights.