Updated: May 21, 2019
On February 1, 2019, a new milestone was achieved: the first wide-body aircraft in the Baltic States was registered in Lithuania, beating both Latvia and Estonia. This wide-body was delivered for charter airline GetJet. Was this a good decision or no? Let’s delve into details and understand the thinking behind this move.
The aircraft in question is a 12.9 year old Airbus A330-302 (current reg. LY-LEO) equipped with two GE CF-6 engines delivered in 2006 for China Airlines with a registration of B-18312. On the 1st of February the aircraft was ferried from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport via Seoul's Incheon International Airport to Kaunas International airport for storage. The aircraft is configured with 307 seats of which 30 are Business class and the rest are economy class seats.
It was delivered for a charter airline based in Lithuania: GetJet. The airline acquired it for 70 million USD as stated in an article published by “MadeInVilnius”. Darius Viltrakis, CEO of GetJet, said that the aircraft would undergo preparations for 2-3 months before starting it’s operations with GetJet.
The CEO of the airline hasn’t denied the fact that GetJet may get even more A330s in the future.
In recent years GetJet has seen massive growth in terms of fleet, demand and personnel. It’s calculated that since the beginning of the airline, it has doubled in size every single year. In 2018 GetJet's revenue amounted to €52.41 million and it is estimated that in 2019 it’s revenue will reach a whopping €100 million. After seeing these numbers it is clear why the airline acknowledged the risks of getting the first wide-body in Baltic states.
In April, Blue Panorama Airlines started charter services from Vilnius Airport to Nosy Be airport in Madagascar with their Boeing 767. Sadly there are no numbers regarding load factors or bookings, so for the time being it is only a guessing game whether this route is profitable or not. If it appears that they are in demand, GetJet could start their own flights to Bangkok, New York, Dubai or any other long-haul destination. It is too early to speculate whether this will be a good decision for GetJet, but in the long term, if they manage to keep up with their current rate of growth and find the demand for more long-haul destinations, it could be the start of the long-haul flights era in Lithuania.