A Lithuanian airport is taking advantage of the decreased traffic caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions to set up a drive-in cinema in its airport apron area, where planes are usually parked, unloaded, refuelled and boarded.

People checking cars in to the Vilnius Drive in Movie theatre
The drive-in movie experience is part of the Vilnius International Film Festival © Vilnius Airport

Vilnius International Airport has erected the largest screen in the Baltic States, as it's approximately the size of a five-storey building. The sound system operates through car radios, just like traditional drive-in theatres, and up to 200 cars can fit into the screening area at once to watch a movie. It is part of the ‘Aerocinema - The Journey Begins’ project, which will run until the end of May as part of the Vilnius International Film Festival. Festival organisers saw the quieter time at the airport as a brilliant opportunity to screen films while movie theatres are closed.

A film showing on the screen at the Vilnius Drive in Movie theatre
Vilnius International Airport has erected the largest screen in the Baltic States © Vilnius Airport

The project is a sign of support to both the aviation and movie industries, which are going through difficult times as a result of the restrictions caused by the pandemic. The airport apron, which is a restricted area, had to be remade into a space open to film lovers. The drive-in theatre format makes it easy to follow physical distancing guidelines and other necessary security measures. Tickets are available online, and only cars with a maximum of two people are be allowed into the screening area.

Cars in the airport apron at Vilnius Drive in Movie theatre
Social distancing is guaranteed at the drive-in movie theatre © Vilnius Airport

“We want to create a unique experience," says Algirdas Ramaška, general director of Vilnius IFF. "Going out onto an airport apron, which is usually only possible to access after check-in, is an exciting experience. I think these screenings will leave an impression on audiences that will last a lifetime."

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

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