Drastic cuts made in airport expansion forecast

  • 2009-08-05
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Expansion plans for Riga International Airport will now be based on future traffic of 10 million passengers per year, instead of the previous benchmark figure of 30 million per year, reports business news daily Dienas Bizness. Transport minister Kaspars Gerhards says that the revised plan should be ready for review by the end of August.

He says that "the Latvian government needs to invest additional capital into the state airline, airBaltic, funds that are needed for future development in the airline," as previously reported in The Baltic Times. This additional capital would allow airBaltic to "solidify its position as one of the leading airlines in central Europe," he says.

Gerhards adds that the state carrier operated last year at a loss, though the airline, as with the entire industry, was locked into unfavorably high-priced fuel supply contracts; airBaltic also pursued an aggressive route expansion plan during the year. Fuel prices have dropped by about half from last year's peak.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis says the government will soon take up the question of a capital increase for the airline. AirBaltic carried 1.2 million passengers in this year's first half, 8 percent more than for the same period last year.