In the first half of this year, the number of passengers at the Lithuanian airports grew by one-fifth compared to the same period last year, and the three airports of the country served a total of 2.5% more flights. In addition, compared to last year, higher passenger traffic resulted in a much better load factor.
During January-June of this year, Lithuanian Airports served more than 2.8 million passengers: Vilnius Airport – over 2 million passengers, Kaunas Airport - over 640 thousand passengers, Palanga Airport - more than 150 thousand passengers. An increase of 20% in the number of passengers compared to the same time last year was recorded in total. Almost 25,000 flights took place at the Lithuanian airports the last half-year (an increase of 2.5%), and 9.9 thousand tons of cargo were transported.
According to the data of Lithuanian Airports, in the first half of this year, the average plane occupancy of the traditional airlines performing flights from the Lithuanian airports was 73% (66% in 2019). On average, 88% of seats were occupied on flights of low-cost airlines (89% in 2019).
Further spurt of Kaunas Airport
Tomas Zitikis, Head of Route Development at Lithuanian Airports, noted that compared to the pre-pandemic period, for example, the first half of 2019, the passenger traffic at Vilnius Airport was still a little bit lower this year but almost levelled off at Palanga Airport and rapidly increased at Kaunas Airport, exceeding the pre-pandemic level by as much as 18%.
“In general, we observe record numbers of passengers at Kaunas Airport - over 640,000 passengers were served in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, the amount of cargo at this airport, compared to the first half of 2019, was almost one and a half times higher. Such acceleration is important for the economy of both the region and the whole of Lithuania”, commented Zitikis.
June provided indications of further growth
According to Zitikis, the passenger indicators of June provided positive updates. In Vilnius, in the first month of summer, almost the same number of passengers were served as last year, in Kaunas – by a tenth more. A slight negative correction was recorded only at Palanga Airport (7% less). In aviation, the occupancy rate is an important indicator - in June of this year, the overall indicator of all three airports improved by 6% (both on low-cost and traditional airline planes).
The Head of Route Development also noted that the amount of cargo transported through the Lithuanian airports is consistently growing. In June alone, this indicator reached over 1.7 thousand tons and exceeded the results of the month of June of both 2019 (33%) and 2022 (3%).
More than 80 routes offered
Zitikis pointed out that the summer aviation season started at the end of March, and currently airlines offer their passengers more than 80 direct regular routes at the Lithuanian airports. It is also important to remember that passengers can only buy plane tickets directly from tour operators on chartered flights, which have already been offered at Kaunas Airport since this summer season.
Most of all regular routes – almost half a hundred – are offered to those travelling from Vilnius Airport. Passengers travelling through Kaunas Airport can choose from almost 30 destinations during the summer season, while Palanga Airport offers five popular destinations.
Currently, 12 airlines operate regular flights at the Lithuanian airports, of which 9 are traditional airlines and 3 are low-cost airlines.