June 8th, 2005, 06:57 PM
Lithuania's EU membership boosts traffic at Vilnius airport
VILNIUS, June 7 (AFP) - Passenger numbers at Vilnius International Airport in Lithuania surged by 43 percent to 443,700 between January and May compared with the same period in 2004, thanks largely to the Baltic state joining the European Union, the airport's spokesman said Tuesday.
"The main reason for the increased traffic without any doubt is Lithuania's membership in the European Union," Arunas Marcinkevcius told AFP.
"We are talking not only about tourists, but also business people from the EU who contributed a lot to the increased traffic," he said, adding that Lithuanians were also travelling more since the country joined the EU in May last year.
The number of flights served by the airport in January to May soared by 47 percent to reach 11,700 compared with the same period a year ago.
"We believe we shall have a million passengers by October," Marcinkevicius said.
The total flow of passengers using the airport is estimated to reach between 1.2 and 1.25 million for the whole of 2005.
July 4th, 2009, 10:15 AM
BALTIC AIRPORTS ANNOUNCE NEW STRATEGIES
11 March 2009
The Baltic Times
RIGA - Riga International Airport has announced that five airlines have permanently ended flights to the city. The five companies, which left in fall 2008, were expected to return in the tourist season, said airport vice-president Janis Balkens.
“Everybody we are addressing says – look what is happening with your domestic market,” said Balkens.
In the 2008/2009 winter season Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Aer Lingus, EasyJet and the now-defunct Lithuanian FlyLAL left the Riga airport.
According to the Latvian-language daily Diena, Italy’s fourth largest airline, Windjet, is the only new airline coming to the RIX airport for the summer and tourist season. It will offer flights to Forli, Italy once a month starting June 10.
In addition to a declining number of airlines, the number of domestic passengers is also falling – passenger volume declined by 26 percent in January and February 2009. The previously reported growth in passenger numbers was logged because of the amount of transit passengers traveling through the airport.
In the winter season flights from Riga airport are still provided by airBaltic, SmartLynx, Lufthansa, Finnair, Ryanair, KLM, LOT, Czech Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, and Uzbekistan Airways.
The Riga airport, owned by the state of Latvia, is the largest Baltic airport by passenger numbers.
Coming in second is the Vilnius Airport, which will start offering new half price services, reported the airport’s new general director Tom Vaisvila.
He explained that the impetus for this move was to more quickly renew flights to European capitals. A meeting with European Capital of Culture heads was already canceled due to lack of available flights.
Up until now, the Vilnius airport has been considered one of the most expensive in all of Europe. According to Vaisvila, the airport is currently trying to change its tax policy and marketing strategy.
Currently the airport taxes have been lowered to around 38 litas (11 euro) for one passenger traveling internationally and 15 litas for passengers travelling domestically. Riga and Tallinn have similar prices, but Warsaw has an even larger tax imposed on passengers. Previously Vilnius airport taxes per passenger were around 69 litas.
“There will come a time when we will really have to analyze all the expenditures of the airport and try to lessen those which are too big. It is not yet clear what they may be, but apparently there will have to be a small decrease in services,” Vaisvila, who recently took over as general director of the airport, told journalists.
The general director also said that the amount of people working for the company will most likely remain the same.
“The service functions will probably be given to private companies, but the airport will still have important responsibilities for airline companies as well as passenger services,” said Vaisvila.
He went on to say that it was an opportunity for the airport to work more with private capital.
Vaisvila also gave the opinion that Vilnius International airport has to fulfill its representative functions and has to compare itself with Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris or Berlin’s airports as opposed to other airports in the Baltics.