The Baltic region’s leading airport by passenger stats had another record year, and now further expansion is planned.
Riga Airport wound up 2018 with significant increases in all of its key performance indicators. It served a record 7.06 million passengers, almost 16% more than the previous year.
The volume of flights rose 11.5% as RIX handled 83,500 aircraft in 2018, while the volume of cargo increased by 10.4%, exceeding 27,000 tons.
The trend significantly exceeds the average indicators for other European airports, for which the average increase in passenger numbers in the third quarter of 2018 was 5%, Ilona Līce, Riga Airport’s chair of the board quotes Airport Council International data as showing.
“According to the latest ACI data, Riga Airport was the third fastest growing airport in its group in the third quarter of last year, behind Spain’s sixth busiest domestic airport in Seville and Sicily’s second largest airport Palermo,” Līce said.
“In turn, in a study recently published by the international aviation data analysis company VariFlight, Riga Airport was recognised as the seventh most punctual airport in Europe in 2018.”
Weapons of competition
For the trend to continue, Līce emphasised that the airport must stick to its expansion projects.
“In order for Riga Airport to achieve its goal of becoming a modern and convenient North European air traffic hub and serving at least ten million passengers a year by 2023, the company’s main task for the next five years is to implement the planned passenger and cargo infrastructure projects,” she stressed.
“From this year on we will focus on the expansion of passenger service infrastructure and development of cargo sector. In today’s globalised world, well-developed infrastructure and low costs are the main weapons of competition among airports.”
In 2019, RIX will begin the implementation of stage six of its terminal expansion, under which a new public terminal and related infrastructure will be constructed.
The new terminal will have “both a modern and spacious passenger check-in area, a security control area and baggage reclaim and sorting facilities, as well as restaurants, cafés and shops,” the airport outlines.
This will solve passenger service capacity issues that are currently being dealt with by introducing temporary improvements in the older parts of the terminal, which was built in 1974.
The new terminal will in the future also be connected to the long-awaited Rail Baltica rail line, easing connections through the Baltic countries, Poland and Finland.