Simonas Bartkus, finance director of Air Lituanica, says that the airline is interested in long-term co-operation with Estonian Air, reported the Baltic Business News with reference to ERR.
“Our current lease contract with Estonian Air expires at the end of 2015, which means that we will have at least two years of partnership. So we have two years to see how the co-operation goes,” he said.
Air Lituanica is a private Lithuanian airline that was established in May 2013. The company leases a 76-seat passenger aircraft Embraer 170, and an Estonian Air crew. It is also using the sales channels of Estonian Air and the Estonian carrier’s partnership deals.
Air Lituanica plans to lease another Embraer aircraft from ECC Leasing at the end of July 2013.
CEO of Estonian Air Jan Palmer says that the lease contract was also one reason why Estonian Air was able to make a profit in June, after a long period of losses.
Palmer said that while at present the two airlines are only co-operating, he would not rule out a possible future merger.
Commenting on the deal, Palmer said that co-operation with Lithuania is very close, and the lease deal is beneficial for both parties.
“Keeping modern aircraft on the ground is very expensive, so we had to make them earn money. For the first time in very many years, Estonian Air is making a profit, which shows that we are using our resources well,” said Palmer.
The airline made its maiden flight on 30 June, 2013 from Vilnius to Brussels. So far, it operates Vilnius-Amsterdam and Vilnius-Brussels routes, and plans to shortly open a route to Berlin.
It plans to open three other destinations in autumn 2013.