In 2008, the international airport in Vilnius, Lithuania, has served 27 percent of the Baltic airline travelers, while Tallinn international airport became the choice of 24 percent. The total number of the travelers flying from RIGA International Airport has reached impressive 3.69 million people, almost reaching 3.86 million for Tallinn and Vilnius brought together.
The number of the travelers through RIGA International Airport in 2008 was 16.8 percent more than in 2007 reaching 3 690 549 people. The number of Tallinn airport visitors has stopped at 1 811 536, while in Vilnius airport the number of travelers was 2 048 439 people.
In December 2008, RIGA International Airport has served 274 709 passengers, which is 12.8 percent higher than in December 2007. For the same period, the Tallinn airport has served 109 334 and Vilnius airport – 126 858 passengers.
Traditionally, the summer months are the highest in the number of passengers; in 2008 RIGA International Airport has enjoyed the most of the visitors in July, August and September.
Besides the growth in the total number of the passengers, the last year was marked with a sharp rise in the segment of transfer, or as they are also called, transit passengers. In comparison with 2007, the growth in the number of transit passengers in 2008 has reached 214 percent having grown from 5 percent of overall number of passengers in 2007 to 14 percent in 2008. This is a result of successful airport’s development strategy providing more concentration exactly on transit passenger flow.
London was the most popular destination among the travelers flying out of Riga last year; 289 837 people, or 8,4 percent of the total number of passengers chose it. The capital of the United Kingdom has become the demanded destination since 2005 replacing Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. German Berlin took the second place, with 207 383 passengers, or 6 percent of the total. The other popular cities were Dublin, Stockholm and Copenhagen with 5.9, 5.9 and 4.5 percent. In 2008 Dublin has lost its leading position as the second most popular destination.
In 2008, 76.9 percent of the total number of airport’s passengers used the service of two carriers – airBaltic and Ryanair. In 2008 the number of airBaltic passengers has increased by 8.6 percent reaching 53.6 percent of the airport’s total (against 45 percent in 2007), while the Ryanair share has declined by 2.5 percent, having stopped at 22.8 percent (against 25.3 percent in 2007). Among the other popular airline companies were SmartLynx (Latcharter, 4.1 percent), KLM (2.6 percent) and Czech Airlines (2.2 percent).
In 2009, the Latvian national airline company airBaltic 2009 will add three more destinations to its network – to Linshping in Sweden, Palanga in Lithuania and Trumsi in Norway.