Lithuanian Airports’ records: 4.2 million passengers and 50 thousand flights per year
2015 was a record year for Lithuanian Airports – the number of passengers handled during 12 months significantly exceeded the number of the country’s population and reached 4.2 million. The annual flow of people using the services of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports grew by 11.3%, with more flights received by 5.7%.
The growth trends are observed in all three airports. For instance, Vilnius Airport has exceeded the number of 3 million passengers per year for the first time in the history of its operation. In 2015 the number of passengers served by the capital airport grew by 13.4% compared to 3.3 million in 2014. The passenger flow showed the annual growth of 9.4% in Palanga and 3.2% in Kaunas.
“The number of people travelling by air and using airport services has been growing steadily since 2009. Vilnius alone showed the growth in the number of passengers by 2.5 times in six years. The mobility of the country’s population keeps growing – both for tourism and business purposes. Further, Lithuania is increasingly spotted in the international arena and is frequented by visitors from abroad. Next year, with new carriers and new destinations, we will expand the opportunities for travellers even more, therefore we expect that this growth will not stop”, says Gediminas Almantas, CEO of Lithuanian Airports.
As Mr. Almantas notes that the airports, striving to provide high quality service and being able to handle the continuously growing passenger flow, are faced with the challenge of the lack of investment for infrastructure expansion. The most popular destinations in Vilnius and Palanga remained the same in 2015 – flights to London, Frankfurt and Riga receive most passengers in the capital, while Copenhagen remains the leader in Palanga. Holiday destinations were especially demanded in Kaunas in 2014, but in 2015 they were pushed from the top of the most popular list by London, Dublin and Copenhagen.
50 thousand flights were operated from Lithuanian airports in 2015 – 3 thousand more than in the previous year. This resulted from new direct flights to Odessa, St. Petersburg, Memmingen, Billund, Glasgow, Belfast, Malmo, Madrid and Eilat. Moreover, the connections with Oslo, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Kiev, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Bergen, Doncaster, Dortmund, Stavanger, Barcelona, Bremen, Brussels, Milan and Riga were improved.
This year, the number of flights is expected to grow even more – two new airlines – Vueling and Germania, which will fly to Barcelona and Zurich – announced the start of operation in Vilnius. The company Wizz Air will start its flights to London in Kaunas and Palanga, while the company’s LOT aircrafts from Warsaw will take off and land in the seaside.
It is observed that Lithuanian airports play an increasingly important role in the Baltic market – in 2015 the country’s three civil airports handled 36% of all flying passengers. This share increased by 2% in two years, whereas the share handled by Riga airport decreased from 47% in 2013 to 45%. Tallinn airport has been following a steady path during the last three years, handling 19% of the Baltic air passengers.