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New departure terminal of Vilnius Airport, visualisation, Source: Vilnius Airport

Vilnius Airport’s reconstruction brings new runway and departure terminal

Vilnius Airport’s reconstruction brings new runway and departure terminal

The Lithuanian Aviation Strategy 2030 will focus on sustainability and carbon-neutral airports

The reconstruction works at Vilnius Airport are nearing completion. Lithuania’s largest ever aviation overhaul took three years and cost in excess of EUR 36 million, materializing in a new mega runway, new airport apron and new departure terminal.

Reduced carbon footprint

After the renovation, thanks to the increased capacity, Vilnius airport is expected to process up to 10 million passengers a year, Dainius Čiuplys, head of Operations and Infrastructure Department at Lithuanian Airports told public broadcaster LRT.

According to the aviation expert, the airport urgently needed a new runway as the old one had defects that compromised safety. Alongside the construction of the new airstrip, the old one was repaired.

Čiuplys explained that in the past, aircraft had to turn around on the runway - a time-consuming task that slowed down traffic. Now, airplanes can take off and land every three to five minutes, he said. Reduced aircraft time on the runway will also lead to fewer carbon emissions, he added.

New airport needed in the future

Prior to the construction of the new departure terminal, a new apron was built capable of accommodating more aircraft. In Čiuplys’ opinion, the reconstruction “will definitely pay off before 2034,” but he agrees that in the future, a new and larger airport will be needed between Vilnius and Kaunas.

“All the calculations suggest that at some stage we are unlikely to avoid a new airport. […] If a journey from Vilnius to Kaunas on Rail Baltica will take 30 minutes, 15 minutes that it would take to go one way or the other from the new airport will be nothing,” he said.

According to the expert, passenger numbers will be the decisive factor, as their increase will inevitably bring infrastructure constraints that could only be solved by building a new airport.

Aviation Strategy 2030

Čiuplys places future plans in the context of the Lithuanian Aviation Strategy 2030 whose preparation is underway. The blueprint will focus on sustainability, carbon-neutral airports, attracting freight operations to airports, increasing passenger numbers to eight million a year, and expanding the aviation training base, the expert points out.

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