From today, one of LOT’s newly acquired Embraer 190s will operate between Vilnius and London City, linking the Lithuanian capital city with London’s most central airport for the very first time.
To mark the occasion, Lithuanian youth players from the local Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) basketball team attended the airport to welcome the inaugural flight.
Flights will operate up to twice a day, becoming the third successive route that LOT has commenced at London City in the space of four months, following on from Warsaw and Budapest.
London City Airport (LCY) is known for its speed, convenience and efficiency, offering unrivalled service from its location in the Royal Docks, just 13 minutes from Canary Wharf, 21 minutes from London Bridge, and 21 minutes from Bank. It means that arriving passengers can reach central London, tourist hot spots, business districts, and fast-growing areas of East London quickly and easily.
LOT was selected by the Lithuanian Government to operate the route as public service obligation (PSO) service, with the Lithuanian authorities specifically choosing London City Airport to link the two cities.
Adrian Kubicki, Director of LOT Corporate Communications, said: “Vilnius is the third European city to gain direct access to London City Airport this year thanks to LOT Polish Airlines. Following on from Warsaw and Budapest, we believe that our dedicated offer of flights to LCY will be much appreciated due to close the close proximity to business centre of Great Britain and tourist attractions. We have seen great passenger demand for this service – as many as one million passengers travel between Lithuania and UK’s capital each year. East London is a place where many Lithuanians live, which is why the launch of the new connection is expected to attract a lot of interest and contribute to a strengthening of relations between Lithuania and Great Britain.”
Peter Downes, Aviation Director at London City Airport, “This new Vilnius service is the first time London City has ever had a Lithuanian link and indicates our desire to better serve more parts of Europe and key cities, to and from the heart of London. We are hugely grateful to the Lithuanian government for encouraging this London-Vilnius connection and specifically choosing London’s most central airport – better connecting businesses and tourists between the two capital cities up to 12 times a week.
“The route also symbolises London City’s ambitions to cater for the whole of London, our communities, and the East End. With a large Lithuanian population here in Newham and nearby boroughs, this route will bring together visiting friends and relatives much more easily.”
The new Vilnius-London City service will not only be for business. It is expected to attract city breakers and be an extremely useful connection for the local Lithuanian community. East London has the highest proportion of Lithuanian-born people than anywhere in the UK, with the majority of the population in boroughs such as Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Waltham Forest, on the doorstep of London City Airport.
Already today, LOT has the most extensive offer for passengers travelling from and to Vilnius among traditional airway carriers. In addition to the new connection between the capital city of Lithuania and London City, the carrier offers connections between Vilnius and Warsaw five times a day, to Kaunas and to Palanga six times a week.
Due to a short runway and steep 5.5 ̊ landing approach and take off angle at London City (LCY), LOT has specifically invested in the compatible Embraer 190 aircraft, certified to fly from the airport. The Polish carrier has leased out four new Embraers 190 from NAC. The aircraft offer 106 convenient seats and were delivered in the second half of December 2018 directly from the manufacturer’s plant in Brazil.
The flight schedules for Warsaw, Vilnius, and Budapest allow passengers to fly to and back again on the same day, without the need to stay the night in London, making it a particularly compelling option for business passengers.
LOT is currently the fastest growing airline in Europe. The carrier offers 111 scheduled connections and a total of over 80 planes in its fleet, and this number will continue to grow. By the end of 2019, the fleet will be extended by four subsequent wide-body B787 Dreamliners and, as a result, the number of these airplanes will increase from 11 to 15.
In 2017, LOT carried in total over 6.8 million passengers, up more than 25 per cent year on year. It plans to reach the level of 8.9 million passengers this year, and to exceed the 10 million mark in 2019. In 2018, London City Airport welcome a record-breaking 4.8 million passengers and is currently transforming its facilities through a £500 million development programme.