May 2017 became symbolic in the history of Lithuanian aviation because Lithuanian Airports handled more than half a million passengers, i.e. 13.3% more than during the same period last year, and achieved the best result in the history of Lithuanian aviation. Until now, the record month in terms of the number of passengers was August 2016 when 481,000 passengers, that is, 6% fewer than in May 2017, used the services of Lithuanian Airports.
New destinations and additional flights
Gediminas Almantas, the CEO of Lithuanian Airports, is convinced that the record traffic of May 2017 was the result of the increased number of destinations and frequencies as well as of the strong economy 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, Munich, and Saint Petersburg, from Kaunas to Naples, and from Palanga to Glasgow. Also, new frequencies were added on five directions: two daily to Warsaw, one daily to Frankfurt and Helsinki, two weekly to Istanbul and one weekly frequencies to Tel Aviv,” 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 of Lithuanian Airports also acknowledges that the number of passengers is increasing faster than anticipated. “We are doing all we can to not only improve the infrastructure of the airports in 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 has been demonstrating strong growth all over the world - it is a global trend.
“According to the data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), April international passenger demand rose 12.5% compared to April 2016, with all regions recording double-digit year-over-year traffic increases for the first time in 12 years. European carriers’ capacity in April increased 14.4% year-over-year. The market clearly responds nicely to the lower air fares which are estimated to be on average 10% lower than at the same time last year” says G. Almantas.
Traffic growth at all three Lithuanian airports
G. Almantas adds that the results of May 2017 recorded growth at all three airports in the country.
“Not only Vilnius Airport, the main air gateway of the country, but also the smaller airports in Kaunas in Palanga received traffic growth. In May Vilnius Airport traffic increased by 11% while Kaunas and Palanga gained even faster pace of 25% passenger increase year-over-year,” 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. In May YTD the volume of handled cargo increased by 19% and reached 5227 tonnes of cargo.
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.