Ryanair close to opening hub in Riga

  • 2006-05-31
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Ireland's low-cost airline Ryanair may soon set up a base in Riga as part of its plans to expand operations in Eastern Europe, Latvian authorities said last week. A Transport Ministry official told the Baltic News Service that Transport Minister Krisjanis Peters and officials from Ryanair discussed setting up such a hub at a meeting on May 29.

Lauris Dripe said the hub would include hangers with facilities for servicing airplanes, additional personnel and other infrastructure. Usually airlines with such hubs also set up accommodation hotels at nearby airports.
Ryanair representative David O'Brien said that Ryanair's current operations in Riga, which began in October 2004, have been very successful both for the airline's business and Latvia, as the number of tourists has increased and Latvians are able to travel at low cost.

David O'Brien confirmed that the company had ambitious plans for Riga. New routes might be launched from Riga this year and some more routes will be launched next spring, added Dripe.
O'Brien said that the company plans to carry at least 1 million passengers next year, and double the number in the coming years. Thus, the company is in need of a base at Riga Airport.
Peters has reportedly informed Ryanair about the airport's development and expansion projects as well as other activities in Latvia, such as the boom in hotel construction.

In 2005, Ryanair carried 427,246 passengers, 22.7 percent of the total number served at Riga International Airport. In the first four months of 2006, Ryanair carried 212,014 passengers, or 31 percent of the