Preliminary data on Airport performance show that in the first quarter of the year, the number of transit and transfer passengers at Riga International Airport grew by 11%.
In the first quarter, Riga International Airport handled more than 1.13 million passengers, which is an increase of 2.6% over last year's first three months. Transit and transfer passenger traffic grew by 11%, amounting to 26% of the total number of passengers.
The most rapid growth in the passenger numbers was recorded in January, when the Airport serviced 369.6 thousand passengers, or 4.4% more than in the corresponding period of the previous year. In February, the number of passengers as compared to the previous year grew by 2.5%, in March - by 1%.
In the first quarter, aircraft traffic at the Airport grew by 2%: already 15.4 thousand aircraft have been serviced in Riga during this year's first three months.
"The beginning of the year is usually the quietest time at airports when people are travelling less; however, Riga Airport witnessed the expected steady increase in passenger numbers. Transfer passenger traffic growth shows that travellers more and more often choose Riga as a connecting point for their journey to more distant destinations in Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world. The wide network of destinations from Riga offered by carriers this summer allows forecasting a further rise in the number of passengers," says Ilona Līce, Chairman of the Board of Riga International Airport.
During the summer tourist season in mornings and evenings an increased number of arriving and departing flights is expected at Riga Airport; therefore, the Airport urges also those passengers who have checked in on-line and are travelling with hand luggage only to arrive at the Airport at least 2.5 hours in advance.
As reported before, this summer flight season 89 destinations will be available to passengers travelling from Riga Airport. The widest range of new destinations will be opened by the national airline airBaltic. The carrier will supplement its network of destinations with flights to Tampere (Finland), Odessa (Ukraine), Kazan (Russia), Aberdeen (United Kingdom), Stavanger (Norway), Geneva (Switzerland), Catania (Italy), Liepāja (Latvia), Madrid (Spain) and Gothenburg (Sweden).
As of 25 June, low-cost airline Wizzair will operate two new services twice weekly: to Reykjavik (Iceland) and Bari (Italy). In turn, Scandinavian Air System (SAS) already from 26 March provides 12 flights weekly to Copenhagen (Denmark).
A new airline - Russia's largest regional air carrier RusLine - will open its service from Riga Airport and operate flights from Riga to Moscow Domodedovo Airport. Ellinair, in turn, will offer charter flights to Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
Altogether 17 carriers will operate flights from Riga Airport in the summer season: airBaltic, Ryanair, WizzAir, Aeroflot, SAS, Finnair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, Utair, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, RusLine, Uzbekistan Airways, Belavia, Ellinair and Smartlynx Airlines.
Riga International Airport is the largest air traffic hub in the Baltics. The 20 airlines operating at Riga Airport offer more than 60 destinations in the winter season and more than 80 in the summer season. In 2016, Riga Airport handled over 5.6 million passengers - nearly 45% of the entire Baltic air passenger traffic.