Small Planet Airlines
|Founded||2007as FlyLAL Charters|
|Ceased operations||28 November 2018|
|Company slogan||WHY NOT?|
|Headquarters||J. Basanavičiaus g. 15, Vilnius, Lithuania|
|Revenue||€ 223.1 million (2016)|
|Operating income||€ 26 million (2016)|
|Net income||€ -3.8 million (2016)|
Small Planet Airlines was a Lithuanian leisure airline based at Vilnius Airport with further bases throughout Europe. It was a subsidiary of the Small Planet Group which also owned sister companies in Cambodia, Germany, Italy, and Poland, all of which are also now defunct as well.
Foundation as FlyLAL Charters
The company was previously known as FlyLAL Charters and was registered on 14 March 2007. In October 2008, the company received its operational licenses to begin passenger flight operations. In 2009, a subsidiary, flyLAL Charter Eesti, was registered with an aim to provide chartered operations to and from Estonia. In December 2009, another company, flyLAL Charters PL, was registered to implement flights from various airports in Poland (Warsaw, Katowice, Gdansk as bases).
In 2010, FlyLAL Charters was authorized to perform scheduled flights to Greece, Spain, Italy and various other countries. In July of the same year, flyLAL Charters was rebranded to its current name, Small Planet Airlines. In 2009 and 2010, FlyLAL Charters carried 400,000 passengers; in 2012 the renamed Small Planet Airlines had increased the number to nearly 0.7 million passengers.
In April 2013, Small Planet Airlines announced a buyout of the 99.5 percent of Small Planet Airlines UAB (Lithuania) and Small Planet Airlines Sp. z o. o."(Poland) shares held by Avia Solutions Group. After the transaction, Small Planet Airlines was owned by Vytautas Kaikaris and Andrius Staniulis, the management of the company. In 2014, holding company Small Planet Group was established to take ownership of the Small Planet Airlines of Lithuania and Poland. Small Planet Group UAB owns 100 percent of the shares of the leisure carrier Small Planet Airlines UAB and 90 percent of the shares of Small Planet Airlines Sp. z o. o. The holding controls 100% of UAB Small Planet Airlines, 100% Small Planet Airlines Sp. z o. o., 80% of Small Planet Airlines GmbH (Germany) and used to own 49% of Small Planet Airlines Thailand, which however never started operations.
In December 2014, Small Planet Airlines founded a company in Thailand, with the intention of securing a local air operator's certificate (AOC) and operating international flights from Thailand to China and South Korea. In 2015, Small Planet Airlines entered the German market with the incorporation of Small Planet Airlines GmbH; the company's office was established in Berlin. In September 2015 the company announced that during the next 5 winters, several aircraft (and flight deck crews) will be transferred to the Southeast Asia to operate from Siem Reap town in Cambodia to China, South Korea and Vietnam on behalf of Cambodian airline Sky Angkor Airlines. During the 2016 winter season, several planes and crews of Small Planet Airlines Poland were based in India and Saudi Arabia and operated on behalf of local airlines. In India, the planes and crew were operated on behalf of GoAir and in Saudi Arabia, the planes and crew operated on behalf of Nesma Airlines. At the end of March 2017 it was announced that Small Planet Airlines had obtained a permit to fly to and from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, mainly serving south European holiday destinations. The inaugural flight was welcomed at Schiphol Airport in December, 2016. During winter 2017/2018 Small Planet Airlines was back in India operating on behalf of IndiGo from its main base in Delhi.
On 24 October 2018, Small Planet Airlines announced it was entering a restructuring process due to financial difficulties shortly after its German and Polish subsidiaries did the same earlier in the month. Both the German and Polish companies ceased operations by November 2018 while the Cambodian subsidiary ceased operations shortly after.
In June 2009 flyLAL Charters the company flew 33,600 passengers and that month it was the largest number in Vilnius Airport, even greater than that of regular airlines. By the end of the year flyLAL Charters had a total 85% of a charter market share. In 2012 from all the bases in Lithuania, France, Poland, United Kingdom Small Planet Airline flew over 700,000 people. In 2013 Small Planet Airlines became the first Lithuanian capital company to fly a million passengers. In 2014 due to increased locations the number increased and reached 1.212 million passengers.
The company flew mostly to Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, and Bulgaria. In Lithuania, Small Planet Airlines cooperated with major travel organisers Tez Tour and Novaturas. The company also provided special flights, flying government delegations, sports teams, and other private groups. During the winter, some aircraft were transferred to other locations including India.
|Airbus A320-200||7||—||180|
Accident and incidents
LLX5288 was a Small Planet Airlines A320 flight from Málaga, Spain, to Tampere, Finland, on 25 October 2016. At 12:34 GMT, Finnish police received a report of a possible hijacking on the aircraft. Hornets followed the aircraft from French airspace. As the plane entered Dutch Maastricht airspace at 12:34 GMT, the crew contacted air traffic control and reported a possible hijacking. Air traffic control informed the relevant authorities of the incident. The plane continued its flight as normal until it reached Finnish airspace, where it initiated a holding pattern. The plane landed safely in Tampere-Pirkkala airport at 15:02 GMT. According to eyewitnesses, police stormed the aircraft immediately after landing. Later investigations show that there was no hijacking. It is unknown whether it was a mechanical or pilot error. The investigation is ongoing.
- ifn.news - Small Planet Airlines grounded by authorities 29 November 2018
- "Small Planet Airlines announced revenue growth and record winter activity". smallplanet.aero. April 20, 2017.
- "Small Planet Airlines acquired by current management". smallplanet.aero. April 2, 2013.
- "Small Planet prepares for its next stage by organising itself as a Group". smallplanet.aero. April 2, 2013.
- centreforaviation.com - Small Planet Airlines Thailand retrieved 4 November 2018
- airliners.de - "Holding of Small Planet is bankrupt" (German) 24 October 2018
- ch-aviation.com - Small Planet Airlines Cambodia retrieved 28 November 2018
- austrianaviation.net - "Grounding at Small Planet Cambodia" (German) 28 November 2018
- Civil Aviaion Authority Suspends License of Small Planet Airlines
- ""Small Planet Airlines" šiemet planuoja pasiekti rekordą". Retrieved 2015-09-17.
- "Small Planet Airlines to become the largest carrier in the Baltic states in 2018". www.smallplanet.aero.
- "Small Planet Airlines Fleet". smallplanet.aero.
- "Mittava poliisioperaatio Tampereen lentokentällä – häiriö radioliikenteessä aiheutti epäilyn kaappauksesta". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
- "Näin kaikki tapahtui: häiriö aiheutti kaappaushälytyksen lennolla". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
Media related to Small Planet Airlines at Wikimedia Commons