On 8 March, the European Commission made a positive decision on granting State aid to Riga Airport to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Commission has supported the increase of the share capital of Riga Airport by 35.2 million euros and leaving the dividends of the profit for 2019 in the amount of 4.5 million euros at the disposal of the company.
Tālis Linkaits, Minister of Transport: “The decision adopted by the European Commission confirms that the decision made by the Latvian government last spring to support the operations of Riga Airport is a legitimate support to the aviation industry in the conditions of the pandemic. The State aid will allow the Airport to "freeze" its operations, while preparing for the full resumption of operations after the pandemic, to continue the ongoing investment projects and to strengthen Riga's position as the most important air traffic hub in the Baltics.”
Laila Odiņa, Chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport: "With the Covid-19 crisis, the Airport has significantly revised its operating costs, ensuring the most efficient and economical use of its financial resources. As a result, Riga Airport ended last year with a smaller loss than initially forecast, and thus in the negotiations with the EC it was possible to reduce the amount of the State aid required. However, given the changing and uncertain situation in the aviation sector, the challenges of ensuring the stability and competitiveness of the company remain. Therefore, the company will continue the austerity course and will be ready to act on various passenger forecasts. The support provided will allow the Airport to ensure economic activity this year, ensuring Latvia's connectivity with the most important European air traffic hubs in both passenger and cargo segment, and to complete the initiated investments.”
As reported before, last April, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to increase the share capital of the Airport by 49.9 million euros, as well as to leave dividends of 2019 in the amount of 4.5 million euros at the disposal of the company in order to stabilize its economic activity and reduce the consequences of Covid-19.
The number of passengers handled at Riga Airport decreased by more than 70% last year due to the restrictions. In the first two months of this year, the number of passengers continued to decline, and in February the Airport handled only 5% of the pre-pandemic number of passengers.
Riga Airport is a fast-growing Northern European air traffic hub, connecting the Baltic States with European business centres and popular holiday destinations. As a member organization of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Aviation Industry Charter for COVID-19, Riga Airport works to the highest standards of epidemiological safety. Skytrax has awarded Riga Airport a four-star rating for its implemented Covid-19 safety measures.