“We had to fly home with Air Baltic via Riga. As always, unexpected problems emerge with Air Baltic. They sent a smaller plane to Brussels, so we and our Seimas speaker were kicked out. There was no room for us,” conservative MP Andrius Kubilius, a member of the delegation, said in a Facebook post.
Pranckietis, the parliamentary speaker, told BNS the initial information upon arrival at the Brussels airport on Wednesday evening was that the flight had been delayed, however, it turned out later that there was not enough room for some passengers.
“An hour later, they told us that the plane would be smaller. All the transit passengers flying to Vilnius via Riga were left behind. We said we would manage things ourselves, get a car to take us back. But they gave us hotel rooms,” he said.
After spending the night at an airport hotel, the Lithuanian delegation flew home with another airline, Poland’s LOT, via Warsaw.
The changes of the travel plans forced Pranckietis to cancel most of his agenda for Thursday.
Pranckietis was in the Belgian capital on a two-day official visit on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Alise Briede, spokeswoman for Air Baltic, confirmed on Thursday that the Bombardier CS300 airliner could not fly passengers from Brussels to Riga on Wednesday due to technical issues, therefore, a smaller aircraft, Bombardier Q400 NextGen, was assigned to the flight.
“Air Baltic sincerely apologizes to all passengers for any inconveniences caused. Sometimes due to technical reasons, there are situations when we have to fly with smaller aircraft than planned and passengers are re-booked to the next available airBaltic or other airline flight,” the company said in a press release.
According to the communique, in such situations an airline searches for volunteers that would be ready to give up their seats, however, if there are no volunteers, an airline evaluates, which passenger groups must board the plane.
Air Baltic, Latvia’s national airline, said that it had halted flights on the new Bombardier CS300 lines “for technical and flight security reasons” and still has seven of the aircrafts.