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Lithuanian Airports: annual passenger traffic growth of 14.6 percent

After a record-breaking year of 2015 when Lithuanian Airports serviced 4.2 million passengers and operated 50,000 flights, Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports have no intention to stop. The 6-month statistics show that over the period from January through to June, Lithuanian Airports already serviced 2.2 million passengers, i.e. 14.6 percent more than over the same period last year. The number of flights over the same period also grew by 4.2 percent.

The highest growth was observed in Palanga Airport: the first half of 2016 saw the influx of almost 97,000 passengers, which is 53 percent more than over the period from January through to June in 2015. The next runner-up is Vilnius Airport with passenger traffic growth of 15 percent from 1.5 million to almost 1.8 million. Kaunas Airport this year welcomed 20,000 passengers more than over the same period last year and reached a 6 percent growth.

"Over the first half of 2016 Lithuanian Airports welcomed several new airlines and announced more than 10 new routes. The passenger traffic statistics show that passengers value our efforts to expand our route network and to increase the country's accessibility. We appreciate positive market response to marketing measures used by Lithuanian Airports in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and Communications and with Kaunas, Vilnius cities and Klaipėda region municipalities for the improvement of the accessibility of Lithuania", said Director General of Lithuanian Airports Gediminas Almantas.

As Mr. Almantas noted, the airports, in their efforts to appropriately accept and handle the increasing passenger traffic, are faced with the challenge of limited investment for the development of infrastructure.

All three Lithuanian airports had new developments this year. The most significant changes were observed in Palanga – over the six-month period Palanga Airport welcomed five new airline companies: Wizz Air launched flights to Luton in London, Ryanair – to Stansted in London, LOT Polish Airlines – to Warsaw, Belavia – to Moscow, while Ukraine International Airlines – to Kiev.

Vilnius Airport's newcomer - Germania - launched flights to Zurich. The airport of the Lithuanian capital has also launched flights to Birmingham, expanded communication with Tallinn, London and Antalya. Kaunas Airport's newcomer Wizz Air - another low-cost airline - started operating flights to Luton in London, along with Ryanair.

New developments for the Lithuanian Airports are also expected in the second half of this year. This time, the major part of these developments will be related to Kaunas Airport. As of 22 September Wizz Air is to launch flights from Kaunas to Eindhoven, and as of 30 October three destinations to Norwegian cities Stavanger, Bergen and Ålesund are to be redirected from Vilnius. As of the start of the winter season Wizz Air is to start operating flights from Vilnius to Bari and Reykjavik, and as of early August direct flights will be operated from Vilnius to Nice. As of November Ryanair is to launch flights from Vilnius to Malta, Berlin and Leeds (Bradford).

With the launch of flights to Lithuania the airlines get the possibility to benefit from the support via Route Expansion Fund established by the Lithuanian Airports and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. This support is intended for the launch of flights to nationally significant destinations that are determined taking into account national priority markets and destinations. Airlines that launch new routes or expand their flight frequencies for the existing routers are eligible for this support.