Aviation growth continues to rapidly catch up with the pre-pandemic (2019) results, with nearly 90% of passenger traffic and 80% of flight traffic restored this October. Last month, 548 000 passengers travelled through Lithuanian airports, 4 713 flights were handled, and cargo volumes grew. Kaunas Airport continues to demonstrate an exceptional rate of recovery and has outperformed some of the indicators for the same month in 2019.
According to the Route Development Manager of Lithuanian Airports, Tomas Zitikis, the growth in the number of passengers has been influenced by the rapid increase in charter flights.
“From September to October, charter passenger traffic grew by 15%. This year's charter traffic is 4% higher than in the same period a year ago. One of the main factors behind the growth in October is the school holidays and the possibility of travelling for longer holidays,” said T. Zitikis.
He also mentioned that Kaunas Airport's recovery momentum continues to stand out. For the seventh month in a row, the airport has outperformed its 2019 numbers.
“In October, passenger traffic at Kaunas Airport grew by 6.8% compared to the same period in 2019. We managed to restore 98% of flight traffic and cargo traffic grew 1.5 times.” - T. Zitikis commented.
Freight transport shows the fastest growth
As T. Zitikis points out, all airports are experiencing growth in both flight and passenger traffic. However, the fastest recovery is seen among cargo traffic.
“Freight transport, like travelling, is seasonal. However, it is important to understand that passenger traffic peaks in Lithuanian airports in the summer, while cargo traffic peaks in the winter. In October this year, we handled 28% more cargo than in the same period in 2019. This is due to high demand for e-commerce. Typically, it drops slightly in the summer period, but demand picks up in the run-up to the major holidays. Seasonality is also reflected in this year's aviation figures.” - stated T. Zitikis.
Lithuanian airports handled almost 2 000 tonnes of cargo last month: almost 1 500 tonnes at Vilnius Airport, just over 400 tonnes at Kaunas Airport and 118 tonnes at Palanga Airport. In comparison, in the same period of 2019, slightly more than 1,500 tonnes of cargo were transported through Lithuanian airports: almost 1 300 tonnes at Vilnius Airport, 262 tonnes at Kaunas Airport and 0.1 tonnes at Palanga. Last year, the total volume of cargo transported was 1.7 thousand tonnes. The total cargo transported through Vilnius Airport was 1.3 thousand tonnes, 453 tonnes in Kaunas and 0.02 tonnes in Palanga airport.
Recovery at Lithuanian Airports
According to T. Zitikis, looking at the pace of the aviation recovery, growth continues to increase at all air gateways. In addition, the number of destinations offered has almost surpassed the pre-pandemic level: since the beginning of the year, Lithuanian airports have already offered 85 destinations, compared to 82 destinations in the same period last year and 89 in 2019.
In October, Vilnius Airport managed to restore 84% of its pre-pandemic passenger traffic. Last month, 406 000 passengers travelled through this gateway. In comparison, 485 000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport in the same period in 2019 and 287 000 last year. In October, almost 3.5 thousand flights were handled, compared to almost 4.5 thousand in the same period in 2019 and 3.1 thousand last year.
Kaunas Airport outperforms the pre-pandemic results: in October, slightly more than 115 thousand passengers travelled through Kaunas Airport gates and 924 flights were handled. In the same period in 2019, 108 000 passengers and 944 flights were handled, while in October 2021, more than 76 000 passengers and 846 flights were handled.
Palanga Airport is not far behind. Last month, Palanga Airport welcomed more than 26 000 passengers and handled 322 flights. In comparison, in 2019, almost 29 000 passengers travelled through the airport and 477 flights were serviced, compared to 3 800 passengers and 95 flights in the same period last year, however, it is important to note that at that time, reconstruction works on the runway were underway at the seaside airport.