The reconstruction of Palanga Airport, which started a month and a half ago, has been completed. All the planned works have been completed: the runway and taxiway have been upgraded, the apron has been reconstructed, and the engineering and lighting systems have been renewed. On Thursday, the airport will resume operations after a 45-day shut-down and will welcome its first scheduled flights.
The renovation of Palanga Airport in accordance with the latest international standards will ensure the safety of airport operations and faster aircraft servicing, as well as the safe movement of aircraft and savings in fuel costs. The reconstruction has made the airport more environmentally friendly, thanks to the introduction of eco-friendly solutions.
The opening ceremony was attended by Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications, Šarūnas Vaitkus, Mayor of Palanga, Armands Svikis, the Managing Director of Latvian construction company “A.B.C”, and the management of Lithuanian Airports.
According to Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications, aviation is perhaps the most affected area by the pandemic, and it was therefore necessary to ensure investment in the renewal of the infrastructure of the airports to speed up their recovery.
“I am delighted that this strategically important project has been able to secure funding and be implemented successfully and very quickly at a time when the aviation sector is still in the early stages of recovery. Convenient air transport services are crucial to Lithuania’s economic development. Airports operations need to be improved to ensure safe and smooth flights. We will continue to focus on the reconstruction of Vilnius Airport’s passenger terminals,” says M. Skuodis.
According to Marius Gelžinis, Head of Lithuanian Airports, the renewal of the infrastructure will ensure the successful development of flights at the seaside air gateway.
“We thank our colleagues and partners for their professional project management and expeditious work - Palanga Airport is ready to resume full operations. We are pleased that in the context of recovering aviation, Palanga Airport will be ready to expand air traffic without having to worry about the state of the infrastructure. We have no doubt that the reconstruction will bring long-term benefits both to the Western region itself and direct benefits to the national economy,” said M. Gelžinis.
According to Šarūnas Vaitkus, the Mayor of Palanga, a modern airport in the region will make a significant contribution to the growth of flight supply.
“The reconstructed Palanga Airport, which is of great importance for the whole region of Western Lithuania, will become even more attractive and safer for aircraft movements. I have no doubt that the modern airport infrastructure, which complies with the latest international standards, will become one of the factors that will help to attract new flights to Palanga and expand the geography of flights in Western Lithuania,” he said.
During the event, Armands Svikis, the Managing Director of the Latvian company “A.C.B.”, which carried out the main contractual works at the airport, thanked for the trust it had placed in his company during the reconstruction of a strategically important state facility.
“We are grateful to Lithuanian Airports for the trust they have placed in us and we are delighted with the successful cooperation on the second facility of strategic importance to Lithuanian aviation. We can confirm that the entire project has been implemented exactly as planned in terms of work and time. The project involved a team of more than 300 people who worked like clockwork and, in addition to delivering everything on time and to a high standard, managed to ensure a sustainable project that was friendly to nature and people. We thank the residents of Palanga and the surrounding districts for their patience and understanding throughout the reconstruction and wish them good flights,” said A. Svikis during the event.
What has been done?
One of the most important works carried out during the reconstruction of Palanga Airport is the renewal of the runway, which is almost 2.3 kilometres long and 45 metres wide. Replacement of the top layers of asphalt and deeper levelling layers. In total, more than 200,000 square metres of old asphalt were replaced.
The signal light system has been redesigned to be more efficient and environmentally friendly by replacing the old lamps with energy-saving LED lights. The work involved the installation of around 100 kilometres of cabling and more than 600 new lights. These solutions should reduce electricity consumption by around 20% for the runway lighting alone after the reconstruction.
The issue of reducing CO2 emissions during the reconstruction has been addressed on the apron itself by installing specialised aircraft Ground Power Unit (GPU) in certain aircraft aprons, underground. Once they are in use, Palanga Airport will no longer need diesel power equipment in most cases.
In the last week before the opening of Palanga Airport, various aviation safety and security tests have been carried out, which are important for aircraft traffic after the opening of the airport. The day before the air gates opened, an inspection procedure was carried out - a detailed inspection of the entire airport area.
Lithuanian Airports reminds that the remaining reconstruction works will be carried out until 1 December 2021 - the processes will take place at the existing airport and normal procedures will not be interfered with.
About Lithuanian Airports
The network of Lithuanian Airports includes three air gates in Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga. In 2020, Lithuanian airports handled 1.8 million passengers and 30,000 flights.