New Destinations and Additional Flights
Gediminas Almantas, the CEO at Lithuanian Airports, is convinced that the record results of May 2017 were mainly caused by the increased number of destinations and flights as well as by the improving economic situation and attractive ticket pricing due to growing supply offered by airlines.
“In 2017, seven new destinations were introduced at the airports of Lithuania: from Vilnius to Grenoble, Gothenburg, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Munich, and Saint Petersburg, from Kaunas to Naples, and from Palanga to Glasgow. Also, additional flights were added in five directions: two additional flights per day from Vilnius to Warsaw, one additional flight per day to Frankfurt, Tel Aviv and Helsinki, and two additional flights per week to Istanbul,” says G. Almantas.
According to G. Almantas, the growth of new destinations and flights this year was caused by intensive and consistent work with airlines and the successful route development strategy.
The CEO at Lithuanian Airports also acknowledges that the number of passengers is increasing faster than anticipated. “We are doing all we can to not only renovate the airports of the country, but also to handle increasing passenger flows; we believe that passengers will certainly appreciate rapidly improving air travel opportunities,” states G. Almantas.
A Global Trend
According to G. Almantas, the number of flights and passengers this year as well as in May increased all over the world, so it is a global trend.
“According to the data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), such a passenger flow in spring is the largest in the last 12 years. The IATA report shows that in terms of passenger flows per region, the most significant growth of the number of flights and passengers was observed in European countries and comprised approximately 14%. Passengers were affected by rapid global economic growth as well as by lower flight ticket prices. It is estimated that this year they are on average 10% lower than at the same time last year. This is caused by low fuel prices and fierce competition between airlines,” says G. Almantas.
He adds that airlines are upgrading the aircraft fleet and passengers are travelling in higher capacity aircraft. “airBaltic”, instead of an aeroplane with 76 seats, organises flights from Lithuanian airports in aircraft with a capacity of 145 passengers, and “Aeroflot” replaced aeroplanes with 87 seas with aeroplanes with 183 seats. Soon, other companies will start transporting passengers in larger aeroplanes as well.
Growth not only at Vilnius Airport
G. Almantas adds that the results of May 2017 show the growth of all three airports in the country.
“Not only Vilnius Airport, the main air gateway of the country, but also airports in Kaunas in Palanga grew. Of half a million passengers, almost 400,000 used the services of Vilnius Airport, which is 11% more than during the same period last year. Kaunas Airport handled almost 84,000 passengers, and Palanga Airport handled more than 26,000, that is, almost a quarter more than last year for both airports,” says the CEO at Lithuanian Airports.
G. Almantas notes that the first five months of 2017 also set a record in Lithuanian airports in terms of the number of handled cargo. From January to May 2017, in comparison with the same period last year, the number of handled cargo increased by 19% and reached 5227 tonnes of cargo. In May, 1190 tonnes of cargo were handled, i.e. 32% more than in May 2016.
About Lithuanian Airports
The network of Lithuanian Airports includes three air gateways in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Palanga. In 2016, they handled 4.8 million passengers and 52,000 flights. During the summer season, 16 airlines offer 84 routes to 59 cities in 26 countries from Lithuanian airports. According to Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), Lithuanian Airports contribute 2.5 per cent to Lithuania’s GDP.