FlyLAL: One down in the Baltics…

FlyLAL (also known as Lithuanian Airlines and LAL) was the national airline of Lithuania based in Vilnius – probably best remembered by the public for the fun pink insignia and the perky pink uniforms. It operated domestic and international scheduled services from its main base was Vilnius International Airport.

The airline was established in 1938 and has been “in the air” ever since, operating under different names and capacities… From the Soviet days of Aeroflot to being 100% state owned – to being privatized by FlyLAL group. After failing to gain any more financing to cover its debts, FlyLal suspended operations on 17 January 2009.

This is the first one of the three Baltic airlines to lose its balance. Estonian Air has survived with the constant financial help of SAS. What comes to the Latvian airline Air Baltic, SAS sold their 47.2% stake in the airline just last December. So there is no knowing what is going to happen with the air traffic in the Baltics. 

According to flyLAL representatives, there are around 17,000 valid but unused tickets. Approx. 3,500 passengers found themselves in the unenviable situation of being stranded in foreign countries, many of whom will have had to spend days and nights at foreign airports. The Transport Ministry of Lithuania has promised to take care of the interests of people, who have purchased flight tickets from flyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines, by all possible means.

This is the announcement you can find on flyLAL’s web page:

Dear Passengers,
We regret to inform you that flyLAL – Lithuanian Airlines ceased its operations from 17th of January, 2009. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will cause you. In case of urgent necessity to travel, we kindly recommend to use flights of other airlines.

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