According to Aurimas Stikliūnas, Head of Aviation Services at Lithuanian Airports, aviation flows are already showing growth in some periods (compared to 2019), so the recovery process this year is taking place much faster than forecasted. This is due to the high offer of direct flights and the increasing frequency of flights to strategically important business and tourism hubs in Europe. It is also due to the rapid growth in demand from travellers, especially holiday travellers, which is growing in weeks rather than months.
He notes that in April this year, it has been possible to restore as much as 83% of the total passenger traffic at Lithuanian Airports in April 2019. According to him, 540,000 passengers travelled through Lithuanian Airports, more than 5,000 flights were handled and 1.4 thousand tonnes of cargo were transported in April of 2019.
Stikliūnas says that the fastest growth has been observed at Kaunas Airport. Here, passenger and flight traffic has already surpassed the levels of April 2019, which is considered to be a record year for global aviation.
“Kaunas Airport is recovering the fastest in terms of overall results. Passenger and flight traffic grew by slightly more than 8% compared to April 2019, and the volumes of cargo transported grew by about 40%,” said Stikliūnas.
In April this year, 103 thousand passengers travelled through Kaunas Airport, 893 flights were handled and almost 384 tonnes of cargo were transported. In the same period in 2019, 95,000 passengers travelled through the Airport, 824 flights were handled and 275.5 tonnes of cargo were transported. In 2021, Kaunas Airport handled 6,000 passengers and 313 flights, transporting 401 tonnes of cargo.
In April 2022, Vilnius Airport handled 319.9 thousand passengers, more than 3 thousand flights, and 1,276 tonnes of cargo. In the same period in 2019, 418,000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport, 4,000 flights were handled and 1,132 tonnes of cargo were transported. Last year, Vilnius Airport handled almost 66,000 passengers, 1,400 flights and 1,391 tonnes of cargo.
Meanwhile, Palanga Airport has managed to restore about 90% of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic. In the fourth month of this year, 23 thousand passengers travelled through Palanga Airport, 304 flights were handled, and 2.56 tonnes of cargo were transported. In the same period of 2019, 26,000 passengers travelled through the Airport, 440 flights were handled and 0.1 tonnes of cargo were transported. In April last year, Palanga Airport handled 1.5 thousand passengers and 188 flights. No cargo was transported.
“The results we have achieved have allowed us to position ourselves at the forefront of Europe’s aviation recovery. So far, we are leading in the Baltic States, we are among the leaders not only in the category of Northern Europe airports, but also in the whole European Union. It is very likely that we will continue to be the leader in the Baltic States in terms of the number of passengers carried," said Stikliūnas.
According to Stikliūnas, growth will also be affected by the start of the summer season. During the warm season, travellers will be able to choose from almost 90 direct, regular flight destinations at Lithuanian Airports, including both popular countries and new routes.