Time right for Lithuanian airport privatisation and closures – Airport CEO
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The head of Lithuania‘s airports has said that the time is right for a private operator to take over the running of country‘s airports and that there will have to be closures as the country has too many airports.

“Lithuania has excessive infrastructure. Latvia has one airport, which is sustainable. We have three airports where the cost base is very similar. Our operating costs are very high. With this project [a private concession to run the airports] we can become leaders in the region,” said the head of Lithuanian airports Gediminas Almantas.

“Latvians and Estonians are very interested in what we are doing here. They understand that they will have to go the same way too,” said Almantas.

Almantas said smaller airports had already been closed in Finland and Sweden and Lithuania will also have to follow that strategy.

A proposal to create airports concessions for Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports could be adopted in early May Almantas argued that the time is right to bring in private operators.

Gediminas Almantas
Gediminas Almantas
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

However MP Jurgis Razma opposing the move said that “When we do not have our own national airline, it would be painful not to have national airports as well. I definitely do not propose to plunge into the concession as any kind of salvation.”

Almantas said that Lithuania was highly dependent on two airlines - Ryanair and Wizzair, and if one of them left Lithuania, the country would feel the withdrawal very fast and for a long time.

He also pointed to the need for investment by the government of up to €200 million in the country’s airports to keep pace with international developments and questioned how it would raise funding for those needed investments.

“Last year, the number of passengers increased by 11%. This effect will taper off within two or three years. At present we can still sell a very nicely packaged product. After a few years the situation will be completely different,” said Almantas.

Under the proposed concession agreement, the state would retain overall ownership of all airports but concessions to run the three airports would be transferred to private operators.

Lithuanian Airports Board member Nerijus Pačėsa said that “These operations are difficult to manage. State enterprise status has many limitations in decision-making, with complex bureaucratic procedures, although decisions need to be made very quickly. Restrictions on borrowing also apply and there is a prohibition on states supporting airports as a sector. Large private companies have much greater bargaining power when dealing with airlines.”


PM's popularity rating plunges further down (1)

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is losing his ongoing battle with President Gitanas...

Alternative medicine legalized in country

The Seimas of Lithuania legalized alternative medicine in the country after adopting amendments to...

Foreign ministry advised against travel to central China due to coronavirus

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has advised Lithuanian citizens against traveling to China 's central...

Plans to commemorate Baltic Way by naming roads

Lithuania plans to commemorate the Baltic Way , which took place more than 30 years ago, by naming...

Number of barred people up as immigration grows

The number of people barred to enter Lithuania rose last year, and the country's State Border Guard...

Top news

PM's popularity rating plunges further down (1)

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is losing his ongoing battle with President Gitanas...

Pieces of paraffin wax-like substance on beaches traced to Russia

Pieces of a substance similar to paraffin wax that were found washed up on Lithuania 's beaches last...

Historian Edvardas Gudavicius passes away

Lithuanian history professor Edvardas Gudavicius has passed away at the age of 90, Rimvydas...

Crazy about coffee: Ukrainian is looking for best cafe in Vilnius (4)

Some people have a passion. For Ukrainian student Oleksandra Kyryliuk coffee is her number one...

Zebriunas’ film “The Girl and the Echo” to be screened in France

Arūnas Žebriūnas ’ film The Girl and the Echo (1964) was acquired for distribution in France ....