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Sunday 20.08.2017 | Name days: Bernhards, Boriss
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airBaltic conflict slows down airport terminal construction

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The Latvian airline airBaltic‘s financial problems have hampered the international airport Riga terminal extension project. It might be put off for three or four years, recognizes Arnis Luhse, chairman of the airport’s board.

«The current terminal expansion with a north annex would cost 68 million euro (LVL 45.7 mln). However, if airBaltic stops operating, there will be no reasons for the airport to start building the terminal next year, possibly postponing it for three or four years,» Luhse emphasizes.

He explains that the existing terminal can service three million passengers. «In any case, I am against airBaltic’s previous idea on the need to build a private terminal nearby the existing one, thus drawing away all the passengers, Luhse indicates.

The government had to review the new project in early September, but it failed to do so. The Transport Ministry has approved the project on condition that the large and strategically-important investment projects coordination council will also back it. Yet the council has not yet examined the project.

The airport was ready to present the project at the large investors’ council and at the government. «We had also invited British experts to participate in the presentation,» Luhse explains. He points out that the situation in airBaltic has slowed down the terminal expansion plans.

As reported, in April a terminal expansion project was presented at the airport Riga board. The concept was developed by the consultant company GMW, in cooperation with the international airport Riga and the airline airBaltic.

The airport’s board chairman Luhse previously pointed out that the concept foresees complete separation of the Schengen and non-Schengen passenger flow, luggage handling and automatic baggage handling system construction, passenger check-in area expansion, as well as aircraft building extension.

The Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis had ordered the airport Riga to set up a task group together with the national airline airBaltic and present the best option for airport’s further expansion.

Currently, the airport’s largest problems are related to the insufficient capacity of the terminal. The airport’s expansion has been held back for four years. The terminal is intended for three million passengers a year, so it is crowded during the peak hours, with long lines forming and other problems arising. Last year, the airport serviced 4.6 million passengers, while this year it is set to serve five million passengers.


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  1. Arnis says:

    Aniyway a new terminal wont be necessary. When Air Baltic closes down the actual airport will be vast and much more comfortable for the rare passengers left

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. BT says:

    Another negative impact of delaying decissions in the case of the national flag carrier! Loosers are the Latvian people!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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