Small Planet Airlines

Small Planet Airlines was a Lithuanian leisure airline based at Vilnius Airport with further bases throughout Europe.[1] It was the subsidiary of the Small Planet Group which also owned sister companies in Cambodia, Germany, Italy, and Poland, all of which are also now defunct.

Small Planet Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2007 (2007) as FlyLAL Charters
Commenced operations2008 (2008)
Ceased operations28 November 2018[1]
Operating bases
Fleet size29
HeadquartersJ. Basanavičiaus g. 15, Vilnius, Lithuania
Key people
  • Vytautas Kaikaris (CEO, Small Planet Group)
  • Kristijonas Kaikaris (CEO, Small Planet Airlines)
  • Andrius Staniulis (COO, Small Planet Airlines)
  • Halldor Sigurdarson (CFO)
RevenueIncrease 223.1 million (2016)[2]
Operating incomeDecrease 26 million (2016)[2]
Net incomeDecrease -3.8 million (2016)[2]


Foundation as FlyLAL ChartersEdit

A Boeing 757-200 of flyLAL Charters in 2008

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.[citation needed] 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.

Later developmentsEdit

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] Both the German and Polish companies ceased operations by November 2018 while the Cambodian subsidiary ceased operations shortly after.[7][8]

On 28 November 2018, the Lithuanian aviation authority CAA revoked the operations license of Small Planet Airlines, resulting in grounding of all of its flights and fleets.[9][1]

Business trendsEdit

Passenger numbersEdit

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.[10] In 2014 due to increased locations the number increased and reached 1.212 million passengers.

Financial resultsEdit

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017[11]
Passengers 635,118 1,000,705 1,212,583 n/a 2,000,000 2,700,000
Aircraft 6 8 11 18 21 28
Income (EUR) 81,554,814 125,847,918 130,539,838 182,000,000 223,100,000 323,100,000
Profit (EUR) -2,231,998 1,706,462 8,170,402 19,200,000 -3,800,000 5,100,000


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.


Small Planet Airlines Airbus A320-200

As of October 2018 before closure, Small Planet Airlines - excluding all subsidiaries - operated the following aircraft:[12][citation needed]

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 7[citation needed] 180
Total 7

Accident and incidentsEdit

  • LLX5288 was a Small Planet Airlines A320 flight from Málaga, Spain, to Tampere, Finland, on 25 October 2016. At 12:34 GMT,[13] 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.[14] Later investigations show that there was no hijacking. It is unknown whether it was a mechanical or pilot error. The investigation is ongoing.


  1. ^ a b c - Small Planet Airlines grounded by authorities 29 November 2018
  2. ^ a b c "Small Planet Airlines announced revenue growth and record winter activity". April 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Small Planet Airlines acquired by current management". April 2, 2013.
  4. ^ "Small Planet prepares for its next stage by organising itself as a Group". April 2, 2013.
  5. ^ - Small Planet Airlines Thailand retrieved 4 November 2018
  6. ^ - "Holding of Small Planet is bankrupt" (German) 24 October 2018
  7. ^ - Small Planet Airlines Cambodia retrieved 28 November 2018
  8. ^ - "Grounding at Small Planet Cambodia" (German) 28 November 2018
  9. ^ Civil Aviation Authority Suspends License of Small Planet Airlines
  10. ^ ""Small Planet Airlines" šiemet planuoja pasiekti rekordą". Retrieved 2015-09-17.
  11. ^ "Small Planet Airlines to become the largest carrier in the Baltic states in 2018".
  12. ^ "Small Planet Airlines Fleet".
  13. ^ "Mittava poliisioperaatio Tampereen lentokentällä – häiriö radioliikenteessä aiheutti epäilyn kaappauksesta". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  14. ^ "Näin kaikki tapahtui: häiriö aiheutti kaappaushälytyksen lennolla". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2016-10-25.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Small Planet Airlines at Wikimedia Commons