Lithuanian Leasing And MRO Firm To Start Airline Operations

Heston Airlines A320
Credit: Heston Aviation

Lithuania-based Heston Aviation plans to launch an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) operation in early 2021.

Heston Aviation consists of a group of companies that focus on aircraft management, leasing and trading, with the latter two activities handled through Dublin-based Heston 1 Aviation. Additionally, it has a wholly owned Australian subsidiary, Heston MRO, with services at six locations there. 

The company’s operations involve investing in mid-life Boeing 737 and Airbus 320-family aircraft, their engines and key components. Heston aims to deliver value through structuring innovative operating leases and maximizing end-of-lease aircraft returns by selling on their engines or parting-out, for example.

Its new ACMI operation, Heston Airlines, will start European services with three 180-seat A320s, with aircraft also available for the tour-operator and airline-charter markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It aims to increase to seven aircraft by 2022. Heston Airlines is in the process of gaining its air operator’s certificate. 

The new airline’s CEO will be Jonas Rinkauskas, previously chief commercial officer of another Lithuanian charter and ACMI operator, GetJet Airlines. 

The current economic situation would seem an unlikely time to start a new airline, but Heston Aviation partner Jonas Butautis believes the pandemic has opened up a niche for an airline that can “capture efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the current market situation, at the same time not carrying the load of restructuring costs burdening the incumbent players.” 

He explained further: “By entrenching the business set-up in the post-COVID-19 world, Heston Airlines will operate at industry’s best cost base, allowing us to offer competitive, flexible solutions to customers during the recovery phase of the travel markets.” 

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.