This Empty Airport is now a Drive-In Theatre

This initiative was taken in order to help the aviation and movie industries
Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania
Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania

With travel restrictions imposed in several countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players in the tourism sector are coming up with novel ideas to stay relevant. The latest innovation is in Lithuania where the Vilnius International Airport, taking advantage of quieter, less crowded spaces, has reinvented itself as a film-watching space.

The organisers of the Vilnius International Film Festival (Vilnius IFF) have partnered up with the city&rsquos airport, converting its tarmac into a drive-in theatre.

The &lsquoAerocinema &ndash The Journey Begins&rsquo project kicked off on Wednesday, April 29th and will run till the end of May with the hope of giving support to both aviation and movie industries which are going through tough times.

It was a win-win for both parties. The annually held Vilnius International Film Festival, which was due in March this year, got cancelled due to the pandemic. 

On the opening night, the airport apron saw 160 vehicles, each parked at least two metres apart, with a maximum of two people per vehicle. The viewers were under strict instruction to keep their windows shut while watching the Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite.

In order to conduct the screenings, part of the airport had to be re-designed as driving on the airport apron requires a special driving license. Routes for moving aircraft had to be redrawn at the cramped airport, to avoid jet blasts within the drive-in cinema area. A spare radio frequency was used to beam the film&rsquos sound into the vehicles.

Although restaurants, concert halls and cinemas have been closed for weeks due to COVID-19, the Lithuanian government recently allowed open-air cafes to re-open and some events like drive-ins to operate as the infection rate has slowed down.

The response to the airport screenings has been amazing, with all shows sold out. Perhaps other cities can take a cue from Lithuania.

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