It is not entirely true that an empty airport is useless, even in a pandemic-stricken world. One option is to turn it into a drive-in cinema.
Vilnius International Airport (VNO) is usually busy—with over 5 million passengers a year it is the second busiest airport in the Baltics. But it has been quieter during the pandemic, and was particularly silent throughout the quarantine.
While tranquility is normally encouraged and sought-after, a vast unemployed area is just too itchy to leave it alone. The solution? Obviously—open a drive-in cinema. To do that, the airport's representatives teamed up with Vilnius International Film Festival (Vilnius IFF) and launched what became the world's first aerocinema.
"Had I ever thought of turning a restricted Vilnius Airport platform into a drive-in movie theatre that could accommodate over 200 cars? Probably not, and even when we actually did it we were anxious of the outcome. But the initiative paid off after the very first screening when a bunch of cars lined up like pieces on the chessboard. I believe our experience showed that airports are flexible and can be used for events of different formats. I also hope that in the future such projects will yield not only more movie lovers, but also aviation enthusiasts." – Marius Zelenius, Head of Communications at Lithuanian Airports.
The initiative was indeed a success. In May, around 13 500 people in cars attended 60 film screenings at the VNO. But more importantly, some attest to have seen such smiles that not even masks were able to hide.