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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 29.10.2020, 13:28

Lithuania to invest EUR 150 mln in airports by late 2021

BC, Vilnius, 30.07.2020.Print version
The operator of Lithuania's three international airports sees the current decline in passenger traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s 150-million-euro financial injection as a good opportunity to accelerate infrastructure expansion and upgrades, reports LETA/BNS.

The government's 6.3-billion-euro stimulus plan to revive the economy after the COVID-19 crisis, entitled The DNA of the Future Economy, allocates 153.9 million euros for the country's airports. 

Arijandas Sliupas, the board chairman of Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), says most of the money will be invested in Vilnius Airport's new passenger terminal, the expansion of aircraft maintenance and terminal infrastructure at Kaunas Airport and in the renovation of Palanga Airport's runway. 

Given the current sharp decline in passenger flows and forecasts that it will take two to three years for traffic to recover, "now is a good time to upgrade infrastructure with fewer interventions and disruptions to passenger flows," he told BNS.

The financial injection will help accelerate planned infrastructure upgrades, according to Sliupas. 

The plan earmarks 38 million euros for resuming routes that were operated before the coronavirus crisis hit and for launching new ones, and for marketing purposes. Another 21.4 million euros and 8 million euros will go toward expanding aircraft maintenance operations in Kaunas and Vilnius, respectively  

The remaining 86.5 million euros will be allocated for building a new terminal in Vilnius, expanding the terminal in Kaunas and renovating the runway in Palanga.

Vilnius Airport was designed to serve around 3.5 million passengers annually, but handled around 5 million last years. Traffic at the country's main air gateway is expected to return to the pre-crisis level in late 2021. 

Sliupas said the new terminal would increase the airport's capacity to 7 million.  

Lithuania's three airports have already lost over 1.5 million passengers due to the coronavirus pandemic that started in the spring. 

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