Lithuanian lessor and MRO provider Heston Aviation has launched all-A320 operator Heston Airlines (HST, Vilnius), which will focus on charter and ACMI markets starting in early 2021 targetting tour operators and airlines in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, it outlined in a statement on October 26.

Heston Airlines is currently working towards its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and aims to start its European operations using three A320-200s, with plans to increase the size of its fleet to seven aircraft by 2022.

Jonas Rinkauskas has been appointed the carrier's chief executive. He was the chief commercial officer at GetJet Airlines (GW, Vilnius) from January 2019 until August 2020 and has been a local EASA independent individual external expert since 2015.

“Covid-19 has created a unique market opportunity to start an airline which will capture the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the current market situation, at the same time without carrying the load of the restructuring costs burdening the incumbent players,” said Jonas Butautis, a partner at Heston Aviation.

“By entrenching the business set-up in the post-Covid-19 world, Heston Airlines will operate at the industry’s best costs base, allowing us to offer competitive, flexible solutions to customers during the recovery phase of the travel markets,” he added.

Heston Aviation describes itself on its website as “a vertically integrated aviation group” that invests in mid-life B737 and A320 aircraft, their engines, and their key components, “structuring innovative operating leases and maximising end-of-lease returns on these assets.”

The group offers Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul services through Heston MRO (Australia) at Brisbane Int'l, Coolangatta/Gold Coast, Melbourne Tullamarine, Perth Int'l, and Sydney Kingsford Smith airports, while its asset leasing and trading projects are conducted by Heston Aviation DAC (Ireland) and other European vehicles.