London’s most central airport will be buoyed next year by a new UK-Lithuania link, adding a third route for LOT Polish Airlines and catering to business travellers, city breakers, and East London’s significant Lithuanian population alike.
The new route between London City Airport and Vilnius in Lithuania will start in May 2019, operated by LOT Polish Airlines.
The state-run Lithuania Airports group awarded LOT the service following a tender process, operating Vilnius-London City with state support as a Public Service Obligation (PSO) route. London City Airport was specifically chosen by the Lithuanian Government for its convenience and proximity to central London.
LOT will offer up to 12 flights per week, with the route the latest in a series of successes for the airport’s aviation strategy, responding to increased demand from passengers.
East London also has the highest population of Lithuanian-born people than anywhere in the UK, with the majority of the capital’s Lithuanian population in boroughs such as Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Waltham Forest, on the doorstep of London City Airport. London is also home to the largest ethnic Lithuanian population outside the country itself.
Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, said:
“It is excellent news that London City Airport is adding a new Vilnius connection. It will improve ties between these capital cities, particularly with East London. The large Lithuanian community - accounting for a larger share of the borough’s population than anywhere else in the UK - makes a very important contribution to Newham. The new route will be a welcome addition to the range of destinations from the airport, providing a convenient link, inbound and outbound, for visits home or from friends and relatives.”
Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said:
“This announcement, hot on the heels of Warsaw and Budapest, not only demonstrates LOT’s commitment to the airport, but solidifies our credentials as London’s bridge to Europe. We are hugely grateful to the Lithuanian government for helping to make a route happen that will not only better connect businesses, but also the Lithuanian community with their family and friends, whether in East London or Vilnius.”
It is expected that LOT will start selling tickets on the Vilnius-London City route by the end of 2018.
The upcoming Vilnius route joins several other developments this year, which will come to fruition in the New Year and appeal to business travellers and tourists alike. From 7th January, LOT Polish Airlines begin operations at London City Airport for the first time, operating a Warsaw service up to twice-daily. This will be followed on 19th February with a Budapest service up to twice-daily. The airport is currently tracking towards a record-breaking year of approximately 4.7-4.8 million passengers in 2018, following consecutive months of record demand.
The airport is currently carrying out a £500 million transformation – helping to respond to increased demand and a growing catchment around East London, home to the city’s fastest-growing areas for jobs, housing and offices.