Lithuanian-registered airlines and aircraft approved by FAA to access US market

Vilnius Airport Lithuania
Augustas Didžgalvis / Creative Commons

Airlines and aircraft registered in Lithuania have gained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly to and within the United States (US).  

Lithuania’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Marius Skuodis, announced on April 15, 2024, that the country had achieved the top ranking (Category 1) from the FAA following its first International Aviation Safety Assessment. 

Though Lithuanian airlines and aircraft currently operate in the US, the planes are currently registered in other countries and subject to paying tax abroad rather than in the Baltic nation.  

Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications, said: “After almost three years of intensive work by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the institutions, Lithuania has successfully completed the audit procedure of the US Federal Aviation Administration and was included in the list of countries in our target category. This creates favorable conditions for airlines operating in our country to conduct transatlantic operations.”  

The minister added: “This is an important impetus for the development of the country’s aviation business and increasing competitiveness in the global market.” 

At a press conference at Vilnius International Airport (VNO) Skuodis told reporters that the US market was now “open to all Lithuania-registered aircraft and all Lithuania-registered airlines”. 

According to news outlet LRT, Skuodis claims that there are nine Lithuanian registered companies which could benefit from the new position.  

“We have nine companies registered in Lithuania, which have a fairly large fleet of aircraft. I know of at least three companies that are already operating or would like to operate in the US, it’s just that these activities are not carried out through Lithuanian companies, but rather through subsidiaries, and this is very important,” Skuodis said. 

Airlines registered in Lithuania will now be free to conduct operations in the USA, not only from Lithuania but also from other countries of the world.  

For example, a company based in the Caribbean or Canada could order cargo to be flown to the US through Lithuanian carriers. 

In order to grant permission to operate flights in the US, the FAA conducts an audit of a foreign country’s civil aviation oversight system, which studies its compliance with the civil aviation safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) before assigning the country to either Category 1 or 2.   

The right to operate new flights to the territory of the US is granted only to carriers from countries assigned to Category 1.   

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