RIX upgrade gets underway

  • 2013-06-12
  • From wire reports

RIGA - After the reconstruction of Riga International Airport, which will cost about 81 million lats (115.7 million euros), the airport’s infrastructure will be vastly improved and capacity will be increased, as the airport will be able to serve even more planes, reports Nozare.lv. At the same time, during times of inclement weather, there will be less frequent situations where planes have to be rerouted to other airports, according to a press conference on May 29 acquainting the public with the construction work at the airport.

Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss emphasized that this is an important stage in the airport’s reconstruction. It ensures the possibility of the airport’s expansion and safer service during times of heavy snow and poor visibility. At the same time, planes will be able to maneuver faster on the runway, which will lessen the time it takes for take off. At the same time, the reconstruction will bring about an increase in the capacity of the number of flights.

Meanwhile, Riga International Airport Chairman Aldis Murnieks said that after the completion of the project, the airport will be able to service 45 planes per hour, compared to the current capacity of 30 planes per hour. He added that the airport will still not be able to receive Airbus-380 aircraft, but that this is not the goal of the project. The main thing, according to Murnieks, will be improved safety and capacity, as the airport will be able to handle all other types of airplanes.

Both Matiss and Murnieks said that relations and the discussion atmosphere with national airline airBaltic has improved and become more constructive. They point out that this is very important, taking into account that the airline has a 63 percent market share at the airport. Both also emphasized that the airport would be completely different without airBaltic, adding that no other airline would be capable of replacing it, as foreign airlines maintain their headquarters in their respective home countries.

In order to attract new airlines and open new destinations, talks with potential clients are taking place constantly. There has been increased interest from foreign airlines after the government’s decision on discounts for new airlines, expressing their desire to begin operating at the airport, as well as those opening new routes. This will also allow airlines to offer their passengers more competitive prices.

The airport’s reconstruction project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2015.
Development of the infrastructure at the airport is co-financed by the European Union. The total cost of the current project amounts to 81 million lats. The project is co-financed from the Cohesion Fund in the amount of 41,114,034 lats and the state budget, in the amount of 8,255,847 lats. The remaining funding is furnished by the airport.

The aim of the project is to improve air traffic security standards, increase the airport’s capacity, as well as improve environmental conditions.