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RIGA - Increasing the passenger comfort level at Riga Airport, which can be achieved by building a terminal for low-cost airlines, and reaching an out-of-court settlement with the national airline airBaltic will be the main priorities for Riga International Airport’s new board chairman, Arnis Luhse, reports Nozare.lv. The airport would also consider revising the fee it charges airBaltic for its services, which is the main reason for the conflict between the airport and the airline, Luhse said.
The new chairman says he would rather not comment on the on-going squabbles, but then admitted that “it must not be that two major state-owned enterprises are in conflict, and a way must be found for them to successfully cooperate.”
Commenting on construction of a new passenger terminal at the airport, Luhse made a surprising suggestion that the airport could support construction of a terminal for low-cost airlines, and at the same time expand the existing terminal. Previously the government supported airBaltic plans to build a new passenger terminal at the airport, which was not meant to be a terminal for low-cost airlines.
“I have been appointed by the transport minister, and our opinions regarding the operations and development of the airport coincide,” he stressed.
Luhse will be heading a new airport board, appointed by the Transport Ministry, the majority shareholder in Riga International Airport. The new board includes Aldis Murnieks, Andis Damlics and Verners Lusis, all individuals with considerable experience in leading positions, notes the ministry.
The previous board members - Krisjanis Peters, Janis Kuzulis, Vents Balodis, Toms Naburgs and Helena Rudusa - have all been released of their duties.
Transport Minister Uldis Augulis (Greens/Farmers Union) said that the airport has long delayed resolving several key matters, and this has hampered the airport’s development. The new board has already received specific instructions. “I believe that the airport must be run by crisis managers, and one of the most important state infrastructure companies must function much more effectively,” Augulis declared. The ministry also expects the new board to offer a solution in the matter of expanding the airport.
Luhse, until this posting, has since January worked as State Labor Inspection director. Since 2009 he has been a member of the board of supervisors at Lattelecom. He has been council member at Latvian Air Traffic, among other companies.