As shown by a comparison of the first five months of 2014 and 2015, the performance of Lithuanian Airports grew 11% over the first year of joint operation. After the merger, the air gateways of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga witness the increase in passenger and flight volumes, the growing sales, EBITDA* and the net profit.
During the first five months of 2015, the sales of aviation and non-aviation services of Lithuanian Airports grew 13%, compared to the same period last year. The increase in sales enabled the enterprise to earn more net profit: compared to January-May in 2014, it is now 65% higher, whereas EBITDA margin rose to 33%, i.e. by 2%. After the European Union decided not to support airport infrastructure investment projects, the growth of aviation and non-aviation income is of critical importance in order to maintain and develop costly infrastructure.
To achieve an even better performance of Lithuanian Airports and to generate more benefit to the state, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has come up with an idea to administer and develop the enterprise by way of concession in the near future.
"I am delighted that a long-planned decision to merge Lithuanian airports served the purpose. As always, there were a number of sceptics but the results of the very first year show the viability of the three international air gateways and the growing prospects: air transport possibilities from Lithuania have never been so broad," said Minister of Transport and Communications Rimantas Sinkevičius.
A huge job was done over a year after restructuring: after taking complex decisions and clarifying the functions of units and staff, the three airports, characterised by different systems and standards, started operating as a single entity. Much attention was paid to the harmonization of infrastructure and its joining into a single network or the standardization of aviation security and flight safety as well as the increase of the range of services and the improvement of their quality. As a result, during the five months of this year the enterprise's operating costs rose 9%, compared to the same period in 2014.
"Lithuanian Airports have two faces - one seen by Lithuanian passengers on the interior, the other seen by foreign guests on the exterior. First of all, we are an air gateway into the world for Lithuanians; it is therefore our goal to increase the number of countries and cities reached from Lithuania, thus creating better opportunities for business and tourism. Secondly, we are the first object the foreigner sees in our country; hence, we aim to create as good impression as possible by our services and service quality," said Gediminas Almantas, CEO of Lithuanian Airports.
17 airlines currently operate at Lithuanian airports, offering flights to 60 destinations. This year the country's three airports are expected to handle over 3.8 million passengers. 1.9 million passengers already travelled through Lithuanian airports during the first six months of 2015.
According to the strategy of Lithuanian Airports, Vilnius Airport is the principal airport in the country; Kaunas Airport, implementing the AeroHub KUN investment project, will become the base for aviation-related businesses, while Palanga Airport is targeted at the needs of Klaipėda Region and the handling of inbound tourism.
During the five months of 2015 one employee of Lithuanian Airports handled 2.7 thousand passengers, compared to the same period in 2014, showing an 11% rise in performance.
*EBITDA means earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.