Ireland's low-cost airline Ryanair said that an impressive 65,000 reservations for flights to and from Riga had been booked for the remainder of 2004. Lotta Lindquist-Brosjo, head of Ryanair's Nordic and Baltic representation, said that plane capacity reached 80 percent just days after the company launched operations at Riga Airport. On Oct. 31, Ryanair began flights from Riga to London, Frankfurt and Tampere. A Riga-Stockholm flight will be launched on Feb. 21, 2005.
The number of passengers using Tallinn Airport's services increased by more than 20,000 year-on-year in October, reaching 92,608 passengers. During the same month last year, 70,475 passengers used the airport. The airport handled 376,054 kilograms of cargo in October, down by 10.3 percent year-on-year, and the number of flight operations in the first 10 months of the year reached 22,016, compared with 21,663 in 2003. Mail passing through the airport for this same period totaled 698,258 kilos, 0.2 percent less than last year.
Ukraine's air cargo operator Volare Airlines has announced the establishment of a new transit stop in Lithuania. "Lithuania is a strategically favorable market, moreover, it is marked as the EU's most eastern location on all flight maps," said Sergejus Varnavskis, CEO of the Lithuania-established Volare Baltija. The airline intends to launch the delivery of food products, mostly fish, from Japan to Zokniai Airport in Siauliai in four months. From Siauliai, the cargo will be shipped to consignees in Luxembourg via the ports of Klaipeda and Rotterdam. The private equity company Volare, which operates 12 planes, offers cargo delivery services in Ukraine, CIS states, the Middle and Far East, and Africa.
State-owned Riga International Airport has predicted a 2004 turnover growth of 9.6 million lats (14.2 million euros) or 16 percent. Profit, however, is expected to decrease threefold from 2003, totaling some 100,000 lats. Airport spokesman Andorijs Darzins said that neither a change in airport fees, which will go into effect on Nov. 1, nor airline discounts would affect the planned turnover. He added that the predicted growth was possible due to a surprising increase in passengers. Last year Riga Airport posted a turnover of 8.3 million lats, up 0.9 percent from 2002, and earned a profit of 304,100 lats at a 50.2 growth year-on-year.
Lithuania's flagship air carrier Lithuanian Airlines began its new winter season on Oct. 31 by launching a new route between Vilnius and Milan, and adding more flights to London and Copenhagen. The airline is the first carrier to start regular services from Lithuania to Milan, which will increase the carrier's number of European destinations to 15. In early August, Lithuanian Airlines launched a new route to Dublin.