Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis and United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps signed in London a memorandum of understanding on the development of air transport services and discussed the possibility of organising direct flights between Vilnius and London Heathrow airports. The meeting also discussed support for Ukraine in rebuilding its transport infrastructure and ensuring efficient logistics channels for the country’s cargo exports to European and world markets.
“I am pleased with the mutual determination of Lithuania and the United Kingdom to improve air transport connections – both by ensuring favourable conditions for cargo transportation and by expanding the routes of direct passenger flights important for business and tourism. A great example is the flights to the London City Airport, when due to this convenient connection several prominent global companies were established in Lithuania, which emphasised that it was this flight that influenced their decision to choose Lithuania. Therefore, direct flights to London’s largest airport, Heathrow, would undoubtedly bring even greater mutual benefits to the countries,” said Mr. Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications.
Lithuania is interested in further expanding direct flights and securing a direct connection to the UK’s largest Heathrow International Airport. UK experts are currently advising the Ministry on a model for promoting flights in areas of strategic importance to Lithuania, where this route has been identified as one of the priorities.
By signing a memorandum on air services, Lithuania and the UK undertake to create mutually favourable conditions for the carriage of cargo by air. Both Parties will allow each other’s air carriers to land in their territories to operate scheduled and non-scheduled air cargo services without restriction on routes, capacities or frequencies. This applies not only to the provision of air services in the territories of these countries, but also to flights to other third countries outside the EU. The UK is also expected to conclude such bilateral agreements with other EU countries.
Minister of Transport and Communications M. Skuodis and the UK Secretary of State for Transport also discussed the UK Presidency of the International Transport Forum with, which will be taken over by Lithuania in 2023. Both sides are working to improve the ITF’s rules of procedure so that this organisation is better prepared to deal with unprecedented situations and its able to use its expertise to help Ukraine rebuild its transport infrastructure, and thus contribute to the recovery of global supply logistics chains.
Intensive cooperation with the UK is also aimed at the development of the 5G communication technology ecosystem in Lithuania. In June, at an international event organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania where the sandboxes created at the initiative of the Ministry were presented, UK researchers, entrepreneurs and start-ups discussed cooperation with potential participants in the Sandbox programme.