Aviation is recovering faster than expected: in February, Lithuanian airports managed to restore 90 percent of their passenger flow

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In the second month of this year, Lithuanian airports recorded a rapid recovery of aviation. In two airports — Kaunas and Palanga — the number of passengers exceeded the pre-pandemic flows. In total, almost 371,000 passengers travelled, 3,211 flights were serviced, and 1,429 tonnes of cargo were transported through Lithuanian airports in February.

According to Tomas Zitikis, the head of Lithuanian airport route development, in the second month of this year, it was possible to restore 90 percent of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic, and the amount of transported cargo even grew by a fifth (compared to the results of 2019).

We can see that since the beginning of the year, the supply of flights has been keeping pace with the demand, and the latter should probably grow more at the start of the aviation summer season. Overall, the indicators for the first months exceed moderate expectations and show a real good trend. More and more passengers are starting to discover and use the so-called traditional airlines, whose flight numbers at Vilnius Airport will also increase in the near future,” says T. Zitikis.

At the end of March, Brussels Airlines will resume direct flights between Vilnius and Brussels that were temporarily suspended last fall; Finnair will increase the frequency of flights between the capitals of Finland and Lithuania at Vilnius Airport, and LOT Polish Airlines will also increase the frequency of flights between Vilnius and Warsaw“.

According to him, Kaunas and Palanga airports show the fastest recovery at the beginning of the year. The number of passengers recorded there already exceeds the pre-pandemic results. In February, Kaunas Airport surpassed the record year (in the analogue month) by 14 percent, Palanga — by 8.5 percent. Meanwhile, in Vilnius Airport this February, it was possible to restore 83 percent of pre-pandemic passenger traffic and 70 percent of flights.

At Kaunas Airport, traffic already exceeds the capacity of the infrastructure

In February 2023, almost 371,000 passengers travelled through Lithuanian airports, and 3,211 flights were serviced. Most of the flights and passengers were serviced by Vilnius Airport.

More than 260,000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport last month, and more than 2,200 flights were serviced. By comparison, in 2019 during the same period, almost 314,000 passengers travelled through this airport, 3,200 flights were serviced. Last February, almost 184,000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport, and almost 2,200 flights were serviced.

A rapid growth of the cargo transportation segment continues to be recorded at Vilnius Airport — last month, about 1,100 tonnes of cargo were transported. In 2019, this indicator reached 938 tonnes, compared to 1,051 tonnes in the same period last year.

Kaunas and Palanga airports, according to the recovery rates, surpassed the pre-pandemic results for the second month in a row.

In February, more than 87,000 passengers travelled through Kaunas airport, 736 flights were serviced. In 2019, in the same period, almost 77,000 passengers chose this air gate, 717 flights were serviced. In February of last year, 61,000 passengers and 686 flights were serviced at Kaunas Airport. It is predicted that Kaunas Airport will serve more than 1.2 million passengers this year. This should significantly exceed the limits of its design capacity, which is why the terminal development plans are being rapidly updated. It is expected to have a contractor and begin development work this year.

Growth is also noticeable in the cargo transfer segment in the port of Kaunas – 372 tonnes of cargo were transported here in February. In February 2019, almost 249 tonnes were transported, 549 tonnes — last year.

Almost 23,000 passengers travelled at Palanga Airport in the second month of this year, 245 flights were serviced. In February 2019, 21,000 passengers chose the air gates at the Palanga airport, 272 flights were serviced. Last year, in the same period, 10,000 passengers and 180 flights were serviced.

Lithuanian airports predict that in 2023, the total number of regular destinations offered will reach around 100.

It is reminded that currently, 10 airlines operate regular flights at Lithuanian airports, 7 of which are traditional airlines: airBaltic, Scandinavian Airlines SAS, Finnair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Turkish Airlines, and LOT Polish Airlines.

Vilnius, March 8, 2023

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