Civil Aviation

In the third and the fourth decades of the last century the planes of the USSR-German company ‘Deruluft’ and later became ‘Lufthansa’, used to land in the Aleksotas airport in Kaunas. The planes flew by the routes Konigsberg-Moscow, Berlin-Moscow, and Konigsberg-Leningrad.

In 1938 the Air Communications Inspection of the Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered in England two five-seat planes ‘Percival Q 6’. The first air line of the Lithuanian civil aviation was opened on 5 September with two flights made to Palanga.

Two planes made regular flights to Palanga until 17 September 1938. Regular flights by the route Kaunas-Palanga were renewed in 1939. 216 flights were made during the years 1938 and 1939, during which 764 passengers, 3,546 kg of luggage, and 3,476 kg of mail parcels were carried.

The plane ‘Lituanica’ took off at 6:24 AM (New York summer time) from the New York Floyd Bennett Airport on 15 July 1933 with two Lithuanian pilots on board, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas, who crossed the Atlantic and at 0:36 (Berlin time) on 17 July perished in the vicinity of Soldin, Germany (at present the territory of Poland). They covered 6411 kilometres in 37 hours 11 minutes up to the place of catastrophe. S. Darius and S. Girenas achieved the second best world result by the flight distance and the fourth best result by the time-span spent in the air. 

During the years 1944-1990 the Lithuanian air transport was subordinate to the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the USSR. In accordance with the policy of the ministry, flights to foreign countries were forbidden, however, in the eighties the aircraft from the airports of Vilnius, Kaunas, Siauliai, and Palanga flew to more than 40 cities of different regions of the USSR. At this time the aircraft fleet of the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Directorate consisted of jet planes TU-134, JAK-42, JAK-40, turbo propeller aircrafts AN-24 and AN-26, propeller aircrafts AN-2 and helicopters KA-26.

In 1990, state aviation enterprises ‘Lietuvos avialinijos’ (Lithuanian airlines) and ‘Lietuva’ (Air Lithuania) founded in 1991. First western  aircraft Boeing 737-200 with 105 seating capacity leased by the company ‘Lietuvos avialinijos’ from the Irish company GPA landed in Vilnius in December 1991. Another important step of the Lithuanian air companies was their accession to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which meant the acknowledgement at international level and granted the right to sell tickets to international flights operated by any air company of the world.

Last updated: 21-08-2015