With passenger and flight flows in some cases even above pre-pandemic levels, Lithuanian airports are continuing to implement major infrastructure projects. Infrastructure development is combined with efficiency, and one of the key indicators is a targeted reduction in electricity consumption. It is estimated that Vilnius Airport alone has already managed to reduce its electricity consumption by 16%, comparing the results for the first half of 2019 and 2022.
Director of the Operations and Infrastructure Department of Lithuanian Airports Arnas Dūmanas states: "The current infrastructure in Vilnius is not suitable for the passenger traffic. Adapting old buildings to new environmental standards is also a challenge. It also does not fully meet passenger experience indicators, which are critical to expand Lithuania's accessibility map and attract new airlines and new destinations. Airports are facing ambitious targets and environmental commitments, as well as stricter security requirements. We have clearly defined strategic infrastructure projects and their performance criteria. Our aim is to ensure that these development projects are not only modern, but also efficient and convenient for both passengers and our partners. For example, we focus on reducing electricity consumption at almost every step, both in our own operations and those of our tenants and other airport partners, and we are already seeing clear results in terms of cost reductions”.
Referring to the infrastructure projects that have been implemented and will be developed in the near future, A. Dūmanas says that for several years now, all airports have been using electricity generated exclusively from renewable sources. At Vilnius Airport, a solar power plant has been installed on the VIP terminal and conference centre building and has also been in successful operation for several years. This is just the first step - Lithuanian Airports will soon announce its strategy for further development of solar power plants.
The largest airfield renovation project in the country's aviation history at Vilnius Airport was completed at the end of 2021. The three-year reconstruction included the renovation and installation of new taxiways and apron, allowing for improved airfield capacity, faster access to aircraft parking areas and reduced CO2 emissions, as well as the introduction of environmentally friendly solutions.
Last year was also a successful year for the reconstruction of Palanga Airport. The installation of LED lights reduced the electricity consumption of the entire airport. Aircraft runways were reconstructed.
The MRO project at Kaunas Airport is being continued, gradually developing the infrastructure to attract aircraft maintenance, painting and other aircraft repair and maintenance companies. It is planned that in the coming years additional aircraft parking spaces will be added and the apron will be expanded, but all development will be carried out in accordance with the principles of efficiency.
Among the most immediate and critical infrastructure projects is the new passenger departure terminal module at Vilnius Airport, which is critical not only for Vilnius, but also for the entire network of Lithuanian airports. This project has been designed from the outset with energy efficiency in mind, and will therefore meet the highest international requirements for building efficiency.
Main priority - environmental protection
Kristina Greičiūtė, Environmental Project Manager at Lithuanian Airports, believes that the goal of aligning modern infrastructure with the Green Deal objectives remains a priority. Real actions are already being implemented and CO2 emissions are decreasing.
"The largest portion of CO2 emissions at all three airports is due to electricity consumption - in numerical terms, it is more than 70%. We want to achieve zero CO2 emissions from our airside operations by 2030, which means that reducing electricity consumption and other cross-cutting solutions to find alternative sources are essential. We are already taking various actions and will continue to do so in a targeted manner - increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, introducing innovative building management systems, and gradually involving other airport partners," states K. Greičiūtė.
She also adds that a measure such as replacing lighting systems, including airport lights, with LED technology saves a significant amount of electricity.
Although the electrification of transport and various service systems, such as aircraft auxiliary power plants, is said to be increasing the demand for electricity at the airport, it is also reducing the airport's overall CO2 emissions due to the reduced use of diesel engines.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are already in use at Lithuanian airports, both for passenger services and other airport operations.