After the successful completion of the runway reconstruction at Vilnius Airport, the first passengers returned to the renovated main airport in the country. In only a few minutes after the official end of the reconstruction, an aircraft from Riga, and later a flight from Warsaw, landed in the capital city. The first flight took off from the reconstructed runway early in the morning on Friday (18 August 2017).
The reconstruction of the runway at Vilnius Airport, which took slightly longer than a month, officially ended on Thursday, 17 August, at 23:59. According to Indrė Baltrušaitienė, the Head of Marketing and Communications at Lithuanian Airports, the successful completion of the project is a cause for celebration for Vilnius Airport as well as all passengers.
“The runway reconstruction was a huge project. To celebrate the successful completion of the reconstruction, which is an important event in aviation history, we wanted to share the festive mood with the first passengers who “tested” the reconstructed runway. And every celebration needs music and refreshments! So we greeted the passengers who arrived at the airport at night responsibly,” smiled I. Baltrušaitienė.
The first aeroplane landed on the reconstructed runway at Vilnius Airport on Friday night, several minutes after midnight, at 00:15. The first passengers to try out the upgraded runway were from Riga and reached Vilnius via an “airBaltic” flight.
In slightly more than a half hour after the first flight, the second aeroplane landed at Vilnius Airport: at 00:55 a flight of LOT Airlines from Warsaw successfully reached its destination.
According to I. Baltrušaitienė, work at Vilnius Airport continued throughout the night on Friday because the first aeroplanes took off from the new reconstructed runway early in the morning. At 06:35, the first passengers from the Vilnius LOT Airlines flights left for Warsaw, while at 08:10 an “airBaltic” aeroplane to Amsterdam took off.
The runway reconstruction work at Vilnius Airport started on 14 July and ended at night on 17 August. Moving the machinery and equipment of Vilnius Airport from Kaunas Airport became a significant challenge. Employees of Vilnius Airport only had several hours to return to the capital city and to get fully ready for work.
During 35 reconstruction days, the runway and the approaches were fundamentally renovated: the soil next to the runway was reinforced, rainwater collection and drainage systems were replaced, power supply networks were fully updated, a new three-layer asphalt surface was laid and a new generation LED signal lights system was installed.