A reconstruction of the runway of Vilnius Airport that lasted for 35 summer days did not impede the new record in 2017, Lithuanian Airports announced. Last year, three airports of the country serviced more than 5.2 million passengers, whereas the number of flights exceeded 55 thousand. Kaunas Airport that temporarily performed the main function of the country’s airport gates especially distinguished for great growth indicators. 

According to Donatas Voveris, executive director at Lithuanian Airports, last year became another year of record growth. The number of passengers serviced at airports of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga increased by one-tenth and of the flights – by 5 percent, as compared with 2016.

“The number of passengers serviced at Kaunas Airport increased by as many as 60%, up to nearly 1.2 million,” said Voveris. “Moreover, the number of flights rose by as many as 54% i.e., up to 12 thousand within a year. Such impressive results were determined by the reconstruction of the Vilnius Airport runway during which no aviation activity was carried out at the country’s airport gates for 35 days and the majority of flights were shifted to Kaunas. The growth was also maintained by Palanga Airport where the number of passengers increased by one third, whereas the flow of flights increased by 13%”.

In 2017 passenger numbers in the biggest Lithuanian airport – Vilnius Airport – declined by 1% and the flow of flights was down 5%. However, the company views this as a positive sign, as the passenger traffic still exceeded 3.7 million, while the flow of flights was nearly 40 thousand. “This is a considerably smaller negative change than planned before the reconstruction of the runway after which the Vilnius Airport started to demonstrate especially fast growth each month,” Lithuanian Airports announced in a statement.

Voveris believes that increased range of flight directions helped to achieve a good year performance. In 2017, 11 new routes were added: from Vilnius planes started flying to Gdansk, Grenoble, Munich, Nuremberg, Cologne, Agadir, Gothenburg, and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, from Kaunas – to Naples, from Palanga – to Glasgow and Saint Petersburg. 

The most popular countries which passengers serviced at Lithuanian airports traveled to in 2017 remained the same as last year: 19 percent of passengers flew either to or from the United Kingdom, 9 percent – to Germany, and 7 percent chose Norway. 

“The majority of passengers serviced last year chose London Luton Airport, followed by Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London Stansted Airport, and Riga. These directions have been chosen by the majority of travelers for several years in a row,” noted Mr. Voveris.

Based on forecasts it is expected that the number of passengers serviced at three airports of the country in 2018 will be close to a limit of 6 million, whereas the number of flights will exceed 60 thousand.