Russia invests in Riga Airport

  • 2010-04-28
  • By Irina Pantelejeva

RIGA - The official opening ceremony of the first purpose-built business aviation hangar in the Baltic States and Scandinavia took place last week at Riga airport. The creation of the first Fixed Base Operator (FBO) in the Baltic States is the result of efforts by three separate entities, those being the Baltic Business Aviation Center, FCG (Flight Consulting Group) and Triangel. The name of the new company is FBO Riga.

The company intends to provide a full range of services in accordance with the highest international standards for airline operators and the owners of business jets, as well as for passengers of business jets. According to the co-owner of FBO Riga, an entrepreneur from Moscow, Igor Malyshkov, the investment in the project totaled 30 million euros and is expected to be repaid in about five years.

The developers emphasize the unique advantages of Latvia and the Riga airport, such as its geographical location, Latvia as a part of the European Union, the competent actions of the Latvian aeronautical authorities, language capabilities, high quality service, a balanced pricing policy, an extensive network of flights from Riga, and convenient logistics for the delivery of crews and spare parts for aircraft, all in a very favorable environment for incoming foreign investors and operators of business aircraft. FBO Riga has already signed some contracts with the largest European business aviation aircraft operators to use the complex, reports a company press release. To date, more than 30 aircraft are using Riga International Airport as a base, and by putting the hangar into operation, the number of take-off and landing operations will increase by 10 percent.

Co-founder of FBO Riga and member of the board of the company Baltic Business Aviation Center, Leonid Gorodnitsky, says he is sure that there will be demand not only for the maintenance of private and corporate aircraft in Riga, but there will be demand to park planes during winter because, for example, in Moscow, this costs from 20,000 – 40,000 euros per month, while in Riga the prices for parking and services will be significantly lower.

“The nearest similar centers are located in Basel, London and Moscow, so our location between East and West is very attractive to the customers,” said Gorodnitsky. The hangar covers an area of 2,500 m2 and is able to house up to 8 business jets of various types simultaneously (such as the Learjet, Hawker, Falcon, Challenger, Global, Gulfstream).The biggest type of aircraft which can be housed in the hangar is a BBJ (Boeing Business Jet), and ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jet).

This is the first phase of the multifunctional business aviation center FBO Riga project. In July the management plans to put into operation another terminal, called GAT (General Aviation Terminal), for passengers and crew of VIP-flights. The terminal is currently under construction. It will be a two-storey building with an area of 1,200 m2, with offices, Duty Free shops, a lounge and a bar where passengers can wait  while awaiting passport and customs’ control. The terminal is adjacent to the runway.

FBO Riga has its own air traffic control, which controls the flights and allows it to provide full services for business aviation, on the same level as the airports in London, Paris, Vienna or Vnukovo.
The center is going to be used to service business aviation in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, as well as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. “With the realization of this project, Riga proves itself as a regional center of Europe. There are such days when dozens of private jets land in Riga, for example last year during the ‘New Wave’ contest in Jurmala, when around 70 private jets flew to Riga in just one day. And there are up to 1,300 – 1,500 of them per year in Riga International

Airport” said the Minister of Transportation Kaspars Gerhards at the center’s opening.