Volcano Disruption has impacts on Passenger Traffic in April


RIGA International Airport in April 2010 handled 296 430 passengers or 9.2 percent less than in April 2009 when it welcomed 326 419 passengers.

Other airports operating in the airspace polluted by the volcanic ash also have suffered decrease in passenger traffic, e.g., Stansted - by – 24 percent, Heathrow - by - 21 percent, Oslo - by - 22,6 percent, Vilnius - by - 0,8 percent and Tallinn - by -20,5 percent.

Krišjānis Peters, Chairman of the Board of RIGA International Airport, explained that the drop in passenger traffic was caused by the consequences of the volcano eruption in Iceland: „The April events when the plume of volcanic ash from Iceland paralysed almost entire air space of Europe, has resulted in negative figures for passenger and flight numbers of most European airports, including Riga. The consequences of the volcanic activity will be felt in the aviation industry, particularly in Europe, for a long time yet. The air space closure affected almost all Europe and the airports in other parts of the world, although not closed they were unable to service flights to and from Europe.”

Krišjānis Peters continued: „Latvia was among those countries whose airspace was longest affected by the volcanic ash cloud covering the entire territory of Latvia. Had we been spared the consequences of the volcano eruption, in April the number of passengers at RIGA International Airport would have increased by at least 8 percent. I wish to thank our staff for their dedication, understanding and commitment at this extraordinary time!”

In the first four months of 2010 RIGA International Airport welcomed 1 210 816 passengers or 11.9 percent more than in the same period of 2009 when the airport welcomed 1 082 385 passengers.

In April RIGA International Airport handled 4 704 flights or 5 percent less year on year (4 950 flights). From January through April 2010 19 072 flights were handled or 7.7 percent up year on year (17 703 flights).

Cargo turnover in April rose by 6.9 percent year on year as RIGA International Airport handled 816 tonnes of cargo (763 tonnes in April 2009). In the first four months 3 547 tonnes of cargo were handled or 27.6 percent more than in the same period last year (2 779 t). 

Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe) has calculated that due to the air traffic shut-down caused by the volcano eruption in Iceland from 15 to 20 April 9.5 million air passengers were unable to travel. The revenues lost of the airports in Europe amounts roughly to 250 million euros.