The Lithuanian airport network has undergone a dramatic change, and is subsequently on the rise. Jurate Baltrusaityte, Chief Commercial Officer, Enterprise Lithuanian Airports, gave Routes delegates an insight into the future of the Lithuanian airport network, at the Routes Europe Strategy Summit.
In 2014, the three main airports in Lithuania – Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga were merged to increase efficiency and reduce internal competition. The Lithuanian network is dominated by low-cost carriers, with 43 percent of airlines serving the low-cost market.
Lithuania is exempt from transfer traffic and has only a small flag carrier in the form of Air Lituanica which commenced operations in 2013 after FlyLAL, the country’s previous flag carrier ceased operations in 2009. The airline operates to a number of destinations across Europe from Vilnius, which is Lithuania’s largest airport.
Aviation development is a strong priority for Lithuania, and with good rail and road links, the Northern European country wants to increase its air services.
Vilnius International Airport has forecast approximately 3.2 million passengers for 2015 – and with 24 airlines and 46 destinations, is the largest airport in Lithuania by capacity.
The problem Lithuanian airports face is in terms of planning for the long-term. With a market dominated by LCCs, Baltrusaityte said it’s difficult to predict the future.
“It is difficult to see the long-term when you have low-cost carriers dominating your market. It makes it difficult to plan more than three years ahead, as the market is entirely unpredictable,” she said.
Kaunas Airport is the second largest airport in Lithuania in terms of passenger numbers, serving a total of 800,000 passengers in 2014. The airport is 100 percent dominated by low-cost carriers, and serves a total of ten destinations.
According to data from OAG, Vilnius is the fastest growing airport in Eastern Europe. The nation’s main airport, which is also in the capital city, has grown departure capacity by 94.4 percent between 2010 and 2014, thanks in part to the emergence of the new flag carrier, Air Lituanica. You can read our full report here.