According to Aurimas Stikli nas, head of Aviation Services at Lithuanian Airports, aviation flows are already showing growth in some periods compared to 2019 so the recovery process is taking place much faster than predicted. This is due to the high availability of direct flights and the increasing frequency of flights to strategically important business and tourism hubs in Europe. It is 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. More than 5,000 passengers were handled in Lithuanian airports and 1.4 thousand tons of cargo were transported in April of 2019 according to him.
Stikli nas says that the fastest growth has been observed at Kaunas Airport. Passengers and flight traffic have already exceeded the levels of April 2019, which is considered to be a record year for global aviation.
Kaunas Airport is the fastest recovering in terms of overall results. Passenger and flight traffic grew by about 8% compared to April 2019, and the volume of cargo transported grew by about 40%, said Stikli nas.
In April of this year, 103 thousand passengers travelled through Kaunas Airport, 893 flights were handled and almost 384 tons of cargo were transported. In the same period in 2019, 95,000 passengers travelled through the Airport, 824 flights were handled and 275.5 tons of cargo were transported. In 2021, Kaunas Airport handled 6,000 passengers and 313 flights, transporting 401 tons of cargo.
In April 2022, Vilnius Airport handled 319.9 thousand passengers, more than 3 thousand flights and 1,276 tons of cargo. In the same period in 2019, 418,000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport, 4,000 flights were handled and 1,132 tons of cargo were transported. The Vilnius Airport handled more than 66,000 passengers, 1,400 flights and 1,391 tons of cargo last year.
The Palanga Airport has been able to restore 90% of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic. In the fourth month of the year, 23 thousand passengers travelled through Palanga Airport, 304 flights were handled and 2.56 tons of cargo were transported. In the same period of 2019, 26,000 passengers travelled through the Airport, 440 flights were handled and 0.1 tons of cargo were transported. In April of last year, the Palanga Airport handled 1.5 thousand passengers and 188 flights. There was no cargo transported.
The results we have achieved have allowed us to be at the forefront of Europe's aviation recovery. We are leading in the Baltic States, but we are among the leaders in the category of Northern Europe airports, but also in the whole European Union. In terms of passengers carried, it is very likely that we will continue to be the leader in the Baltic States, said Stikli nas.
Growth will also be affected by the start of the summer season, according to Stikli nas. During the warm season, travellers will be able to choose from over 90 direct, regular flight destinations at Lithuanian airports, including both popular countries and new routes.