Riga International Airport, in another first, handled more than 400,000 passengers in one month this July, reports news agency LETA. The airport served 432,216 passengers, a 10.6 percent increase from the same period last year. "It is gratifying that in this difficult situation for the aviation industry in Europe and worldwide, we have been able in Riga to reach a new peak, unprecedented so far, exceeding 400,000 passengers welcomed in one month. We shall do the utmost this year to achieve another record figure 's 4 million passenger traffic per year," said the airport's Chairman of the Board Krisjanis Peters. In the first seven months of 2009, the airport served 2,252,063 passengers, or 9.9 percent more than in the same period of 2008. The number of aircraft handled for July was 5,753, exceeding last year's total by 7.6 percent. For the seven month period, 33,975 aircraft passed through the airport, 6.3 percent more year on year. Cargo handled in July rose by 12.6 percent to 730 tons compared with July 2008. In the seven months of 2009, 4,934 tons of various cargo were handled, up 16.6 percent from last year.
The Ministry of Finance announced that Estonia will not abolish income tax exemptions on interest rates on housing loans, starting September 1, 2009, reports news agency LETA. Acting counsellor of the public relations department of the Ministry of Finance Annika Vilu said that it cannot be ruled out, however, that such a move would be made at a later date. In April, the OECD recommended that Estonia abandon exempting income tax on interest paid on housing loans, as these kinds of benefits from the state were partly what caused the boost in the real estate bubble that eventually burst.
Tallinn and its surrounding municipalities will begin processing their waste into fuel, activities to be led by Eesti Eneriga Iru power plant and BEN Energy's Vao combined power and heating producer, reports news agency LETA. Tallinn's landfill is expected to start producing waste fuel in October or November, and turn 60,000 tons of waste into 30,000 tons of waste fuel each year. Vao's combined power and heating producer is regarded as a buyer of the fuel. Vao plans to consume 80,000 tons of waste per year, and should start operating next February. Eesti Energia recently announced plans to build a power plant that would use up to 220,000 tons of waste each year.
Danske Bank Group's Latvian branch ended the first half of 2009 with a 17.5 million lats (25 million euros) loss before taxes, reports news agency LETA. Income totaled 3.2 million lats, a 43 percent increase over previous year's results. Six month net interest income increased by 63 percent, and because of its increased income base and expense controls, the bank achieved a profit before loan impairment charge of 1.3 million lats. However, the bank's overall performance was negatively affected by the economic situation in Latvia. The bank had already planned on an increase in reserves for impaired loans. On June 30, the bank's loan impairment charges totaled 18.8 million lats, or 10.7 percent of the loan portfolio. For the first six months of 2009, deposits grew by 124 percent, compared with the year before, reaching 114 million lats, and the loan portfolio grew by 10 percent.