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Lithuania’s government has blocked plans of aviation group Avia Solutions Group to expand at Vilnius Airport due to risks to national security, government’s representatives confirmed on Friday.
Gediminas Žiemelis
Gediminas Žiemelis
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

“The government has adopted a decision. The government has approved the commission’s conclusions,” Kestutis Lancinskas, prime minister’s national security advisor, told BNS adding that the decision had been made earlier this month.

Last month, the Lithuanian government's commission vetting deals by strategic enterprises recommended blocking Avia Solutions Group's expansion plans at Vilnius Airport over national security concerns.

The group, which is controlled by Lithuanian businessman Gedimino Ziemelis, had planned to invest 7 million euros in expanding its hangar at the airport and create around 200 new jobs.

In recent years, Lithuania's national security bodies have been cautious about Avia Solutions Group's investments due to its prior activity at Moscow's Zhukovsky Airport and its aviation operations in Russia.

Darius Jauniskis, director of State Security Department (SSD), said earlier this month that the intelligence service had doubts about the group' operations and its reliability, and had informed decision-makers about that.

The group says it cut all ties with the Zhukovsky projects back in 2018 and sold its stake in the company operating the airport.

It called the commission’s decision "a witch hunt" and urged the intelligence service to disclose all information available to it to dispel doubts.

This is not the first time when the government blocks expansion planned by Avia Solutions Group at Vilnius Airport over national security concerns. Back in 2015, a governmental commission ruled that the expansion of FL Technics, a subsidiary of Avia Solutions Group, at the territory of the airport would run counter to national security interests.

BNS
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