The Lithuanian government is considers organising special flights to repatriate stranded citizens from the UK, LRT RADIO reports. Lithuania banned flights from the country over a more infectious strand of the coronavirus this week.
The ban came into effect at 4:00 on Monday morning and is in effect until December 31. On Monday, commercial airlines announced they were calling off all regular flights between Lithuania and the UK.
“We are considering different ways how to allow our citizens to return. There are two options: one is to organise repatriation flights, the other is to allow individual commercial flights,” Dominykas Narbutas, a spokesman for the Transport Ministry, told LRT RADIO.
Repatriation flights are special charter flights organised by the government to bring citizens from abroad. Lithuania was arranging repatriation last March when border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic left a number of Lithuanians stranded in foreign countries.
The UK is home to one of the biggest Lithuanian expatriate communities. According to the ministry, around 7,000 passenger had booked flights for this week.
“We assume that most of them wanted to visit their families,” according to Narbutas.
“There definitely won’t be any regular commercial flights from the UK to Lithuania until January 1,” Narbutas said. “After that, everything will depend on the epidemiological situation.”
He added that, once flights resume, passengers may be tested in Lithuanian airports upon arrival.