Continuing work on the development and improvement of the infrastructure of Riga International Airport, in order to meet the needs of the increasing number of passengers and flights, this autumn the Airport will start implementing an ambitious project financed from the European Union Cohesion Fund.
The project “Development of Secure and Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure at Riga International Airport” aims to improve environmental and security measures at the Airport, contributing to the goals of climate and energy efficiency policy, reducing the negative impact of the Airport’s economic activities on the environment and improving energy efficiency of the infrastructure. The project also includes improvements to the security infrastructure with a view to reducing the risks of terrorist threats and improving the quality of the security screening of hold baggage.
Within the framework of the project, it is planned to construct a second rapid exit way with an area of 12 090 square metres, which will reduce the distance for exiting the runway and time spent in the taxiing area. Emission calculations show that the taxiing cycle of an aircraft produces the largest volume of pollutant emissions. The second rapid exit way will significantly reduce the amount of fuel and time spent on land manoeuvres, thereby reducing air pollution.
In turn, the construction of apron taxiway centreline lights in accordance with the CAT II standards will ensure that in low visibility conditions aircraft will be able to quickly clear the runway, thus increasing the runway capacity and reducing the taxiing distance and time. This will also help to reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft and thus facilitate energy consumption. The total length of the modernised taxiways will be 11.3 kilometres.
The helipad planned within the project framework, which will allow emergency medical and aviation rescue and search helicopters to land at Riga Airport without affecting the movement of other aircraft will be a significant benefit to the rescue services.
The project also envisages reconstruction of the more than 40-year-old rainwater drainage system in the eastern part of the Airport landside area and the technical area of the Airport, as well as renovation of Muzeja Street connecting the Airport’s Business Park and the restricted access areas and facilities. After the reconstruction, the surface run-off water from the Airport's car parks will be discharged into rainwater treatment plants and further into the rainwater system. After purification, rainwater will not contain any pollutants. Also on Muzeja Street there will be a rainwater system and an appropriate pedestrian infrastructure, providing accessibility solutions for people with special needs.
The project also foresees replacement of spotlights operated with gas discharge lamps with analogue LEDs, thus reducing energy consumption. Similarly, the Airport’s technical services building constructed in the seventies of the last century and no longer meeting the modern energy efficiency standards will be reconstructed.
Within the framework of the project, it is planned to acquire three latest generation explosives detection devices capable of detecting and indicating explosive materials in luggage or other consignments. According to the EU regulation, three units of such latest generation equipment is needed to handle the current passenger numbers at Riga Airport, and they must be introduced by autumn 2020.
The total planned cost of the project is EUR 23 049 010, of which the Cohesion Fund financing - EUR 10 774 241, other public financing of EUR 710 524 and financing of Riga International Airport - EUR 11 564 245. The support for Airport modernisation is planned within the framework of the planning document Priority Axis “Sustainable Transportation System” Specific Objective 6.1.2 “To Promote Security and Compliance with Environmental Requirements at Riga International Airport”. On 27 December 2016, Riga International Airport concluded a contract with the Central Finance and Contracting Agency (CFCA) on receiving of CF funding for the implementation of the project at Riga International Airport. On 3 July 2017, the Airport received a positive decision of the European Commission (EC) concerning the state support notice for the project “Development of Secure and Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure at Riga International Airport” (project No. 18.104.22.168/16/I/001).
As reported before, at the end of 2015, the Airport completed one of the most ambitious projects financed from the Cohesion Fund in the history of Latvia. Investing more than EUR 93 million (both from the Cohesion Fund and the Airport’s budget), the runway and apron were fully renovated, a modern runway lighting system was installed, the old taxiways were restored and new taxiways and rapid exit ways constructed. Within the project the Airport acquired a new fire station and modern fire-fighting vehicles and equipment.
Over the recent years, a total of more than EUR 150 million have been invested in the development of Riga International Airport. These investments include both - development of the aerodrome area, as well as construction of the North Pier of the new passenger terminal. Thus, the capacity of Riga Airport aerodrome currently allows servicing of up to 7 million passengers per year.
Major construction works at the Airport will continue in the coming years, expanding the landside area of the passenger terminal, which will be connected to the Rail Baltic railway station, forming a multimodal transport hub. The planned investment for this project is EUR 60 million and it is to be completed by 2023.
Riga International Airport is the largest air traffic hub in the Baltics. The 20 airlines operating at Riga Airport offer more than 70 destinations in the winter season and almost 90 in the summer season. In 2016, Riga Airport handled over 5.4 million passengers - nearly 45% of the entire Baltic air passenger traffic.