Budget rivals force Air Baltic to surrender Vilnius routes

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Latvian low-cost carrier Air Baltic is to pull out of several routes from the neighbouring Lithuanian capital of Vilnius following the arrival of two other major budget airlines.

From 27 March, Air Baltic will cease to serve London Gatwick, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rome Fiumicino and Dublin as Ireland's Ryanair and Hungary's Wizz Air move into Vilnius.

"Coincidentally, both Ryanair and Wizzair have announced new routes in Vilnius that overlap with those served by Air Baltic," says Air Baltic's general manager in Lithuania, Tadas Vizgirda. "The world is big enough and we [would] rather walk away from the crowd, to avoid the other two airlines flying wing-to-wing with each other."

Vizgirda says that an incentive scheme by Vilnius airport to attract more flights "appears to have backfired, resulting in overcapacity on just a handful of routes rather than broadening the choice of routes, as intended by the scheme".

Air Baltic says it will contact passengers booked on the cancelled flights to offer alternatives.