These empty airports are now drive-in movie theatres

By Liz Hands | May 16, 2020

There have been plenty of movies about planes in recent years – Sully, Flight, Planes, Air Force One and Top Gun to name but a few. And, of course, who could forget the very literally-named Snakes on a Plane?

Now, the link between the aviation and the movie industries has been cemented even further. As airports stand empty, with runways currently devoid of traffic, innovative ways of using all of that vacant tarmac are being implemented.

In Lithuania, Vilnius International Airport has partnered with the Vilnius International Film Festival to convert its tarmac into a drive-in movie theatre.

It is a surreal sight as cars lined up in front of a giant movie screen site next to planes parked on the tarmac nearby.

The initiative has been not only a way to use the empty space, but also to ensure that the movie festival, which was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus, can go ahead in a different form.

Called Aerocinema – The Journey Begins, the project will run until the end of this month and has already proven popular withe moviegoers who are unable to visit the cinema as they normally would as a result of Covid-19 social distancing and lockdown regulations.

Strict measures have been implemented to ensure visitors are able to watch films in safety. Cars must be parked at least two metres apart and only two people are allowed in each vehicle. Movie watchers must keep their windows closed for the duration of the screenings unless they are wearing a face mask, but they can hear the audio well through their car radios.

The movies have deliberately been chosen to showcase different parts of the world at a time when we are unable to physically travel to the locations of our choice.

Movies have included Parasite, set in South Korea, The Invisible Life, which has locations in Brazil and Germany, and A Bigger Splash, which takes viewers to Italy and France.

Having already proven to be a huge success among the Lithuanian cinema-going public, the open-air theatre is set to move to different locations within the country throughout the summer. Who knows, perhaps other airports may follow suit and a movie screening may come to an empty airport near you.

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