More on Lithuanian airlines: Small Planet airlines
A few days ago I wrote about the launch of a new Lithuanian airline, Air Lituanica, whose goal is to connect Vilnius airport with the main European capitals.
What I did not mention, however, is that Air Lituanica is not the only Lithuanian airline. Well, to be fair, it is the only scheduled Lithuanian airline, but there is another airline that calls Vilnius airport its home: and this other Lithuanian airline is the creatively-named Small Planet Airlines, that specializes in charter flights to and from Lithuania.
A name as creative as its livery design, that is the work of an agency called "Not Perfect" .
This casual name and image fits with the sort of as a Small Planet Airlines wants to project, as Viktorija Fabijonaité, head of in-flight division and brand manager at Small Planet Airlines puts it when interviewed for this article:
"Charter airlines are not exactly famous for great passenger service. After all, they sell their services on the lowest price to package holiday companies, and travelers have weaned off to expect anything but being transported from point A to point B. It is different with Small Planet Airlines. We want our passengers to feel like their holidays have begun on board of our flight".
Small Planet Airlines has a comfortable position as leader of the Lithuanian market and also operates extensively in the much more competitive charter flight market in neighbouring Poland.
When I ask Viktorija Fabijonaité whether they plan to follow other European charter airlines that have ended up launching scheduled flights or reinventing themselves as low cost carriers, the answer is resounding: “no, we plan to remain a charter operator only” (for the time being, Air Lituanica need not worry on this front then!).
Small Planet Airlines is currently an independent company, since it the company's managers recently bought the airline out from the
Lithuanian Avia Solutions Group with the aim of pursuing its expansion out of its Baltic base and across Europe.
These ambitious plans have had their first effect on the airline's fleet, as Small Planet Airlines is in the middle of a fleet renewal programme that will see it switching to an all-A320 fleet. It is for this purpose that Small Planet Airlines has leased 7 Airbus A320s and returned two of its old Boeing 737-300 aircraft to the leasing company at the end of last year. Small Planet Airlines is planning to return its remaining two Boeing 737-300s at the end of this summer season.
So, you see, lots of things going on in the Lithuanian
airline industry. All the sudden not only has Vilnius airport gone from being one of
Europe’s loneliest capital city airports to becoming a much busier place but you might see one of Small Planet Airlines' colourful airbuses in an airport near you!