Due to a complicated pandemic situation in the world, during the first quarter of this year, Lithuanian Airports recorded less flights, lower passengers flows and a reduced number of cargo transported by air compared to the last quarter of 2020. The stagnation recorded by Lithuanian Airports at the beginning of the first quarter of this year began to shrink already at the beginning of March - growth in both flights and passenger traffic was recorded.
According to Aurimas Stikliūnas, Head of Aviation Services at Lithuanian Airports, consistent recovery of the aviation sector and better results are expected to be achieved in the second quarter of this year, which is associated with the beginning of the summer season and accelerating, albeit slowly, global vaccination.
During the first three months of this year, all three airports of the country served 148 thousand passengers, which is 14% less compared to the last quarter last year. In the first quarter, 124 thousand passengers arrived to and departed from Vilnius, which is 1% less than in the said period last year, 19 thousand passengers arrived to and departed from Kaunas (46% less), and 5 thousand passengers arrived to and departed from Palanga (60% less).
In the first quarter, the number of flights in all airports reached 4.2 thousand – 23% less than in the last quarter last year. In Vilnius alone their number decreased by 18% to 3.1 thousand, in Kaunas – by 28% to 841, in Palanga – by 46% to 274. The most popular routes remained almost unchanged. Most passengers chose flights to the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark.
“The beginning of this year can be identified as particularly difficult period for aviation because the challenges of the pandemic had not yet been controlled in many countries, vaccination processes have been accelerating slowly. National health safety requirements for travellers also varied and have been changing at every turn“, - said A. Stikliūnas.
The situation improved in March
According to A. Stikliūnas, people did not stop wanting to travel, and the desire to travel is growing rapidly.
“This is also shown by our research on travellers and growing actual flight and passenger indicators at the beginning of April. It is important that mass vaccination of people would be successfully carried out in Europe and that countries would gradually impose less strict travel restrictions. These are essential factors for market recovery in the second quarter of this year“, - says A. Stikliūnas.
According to the representative of Lithuanian Airports, March already confirmed these predictions - compared to February this year, the number of flights and passenger flows grew by 40% and 48%, respectively. In addition, in March, the number of offered seats on airplanes at Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports was also 27% higher than in February.
“We all are in a new reality, in which we will live for a long time, and it is hard to say if there will soon come a day when the pandemic will simply go away. Therefore, we need to learn to live following safety requirements, to adapt and move forward“, - notes A. Stikliūnas.
At the beginning of the year, Lithuanian Airports took the necessary steps within the organisation in order to adapt to reduced passenger traffic and to ensure more efficient operation as well as to prepare for the recovery period. Therefore, already in May, airlines in Lithuania plan to operate nearly 70 direct routes, during the summer - at least 82 routes.
Less cargo was transported by air
During three months of this year, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, the total amount of cargo carried by air in three airports decreased by 6% to 4.87 thousand tons.
This year, the biggest amount of cargo was transported by air at Vilnius Airport - 3.7 thousand tons. Compared to the last quarter of last year, amount of cargo decreased by 5%. In Kaunas, amount of cargo decreased by 10% to 1.14 thousand tons, and the amount of cargo transported by air through Palanga Airport increased to 20 tons.
About Lithuanian Airports
The network of Lithuanian Airports includes three air gateways in Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga. In 2020, 1.8 million passengers and 30 thousand flights were served at Lithuanian Airports.
For more news, follow us on Twitter.