FlyMe takes over Lithuanian airline

Swedish budget airline FlyMe Europe said on Monday that it had agreed to gradually take over Lithuania's recently privatized Lithuanian Airlines, or flyLAL, for an undisclosed amount.

“We will first buy 33 percent of the company, but we’re aiming for 100 percent. Our goal is to own 100 percent by 2009,” FlyMe chief executive Fredrik Skanselid told AFP, refusing to disclose how much the deal was worth.

Although it will be years before FlyMe completely takes over the Lithuanian airline, Skanselid pointed out that the Swedish company would hold a majority on flyLAL’s board and would be able to appoint its chief executive as soon as the first part of the agreement was completed.

The deal, which is subject to due diligence and still requires approval from Lithuanian authorities and FlyMe Europe’s board, is expected to be completed on March 30, the Swedish airline said in a statement.

“We are very interested in expanding eastward. There hasn’t yet been as much focus on the Eastern European market as on Central Europe, and we hope to secure a good market share there,” Skanselid said.

Lithuanian Airlines currently holds about 40 percent of the Lithuanian airline market and has about 580 employees, according to FlyMe’s statement.