A Vilnius regional court has ordered airBaltic (BT, Riga) to pay defunct Lithuanian operator FlyLAL (TE, Vilnius) EUR16 million (USD17.31 million) in damages after it was found guilty of anti-competitive practices.

In its ruling, the court said Air Baltic had gained significant benefit from preferential agreements signed with Riga International Airport between 2004 and 2008. These agreements subsequently allowed the Latvian carrier to engage in predatory pricing and anticompetitive behaviour which ultimately forced FlyLAL out of certain markets, it said.

At the time of its collapse, FlyLAL, which was Lithuania's national carrier between 1991 and 2009, blamed Air Baltic as well as the then global economic crisis for its financial woes. It had originally sought EUR57.87 million (USD62.55 million) in damages from both the airline and the airport. As it stands, Riga airport has now been exonerated of any liability.

Air Baltic has said it will appeal the ruling.