Author: Ilze Salna
Preliminary data on Airport performance show that this October, Riga Airport handled 551 thousand passengers, with the number of direct passengers exceeding 90 % of the pre-pandemic figures.
This year, the Airport has already handled almost 4.5 million passengers, and passenger growth trends continue to be positive. Since June, the number of passengers handled at the Airport has been above half a million passengers per month.
The number of direct travellers in October is only 8.5 % behind the 2019 figures, with Riga Airport's recovery rate during this period exceeding the European average. According to the Airports Council International (ACI Europe), passenger numbers at European airports are on average 12 % behind their pre-pandemic levels.
The impact of the war in Ukraine is still noticeable in transit passenger numbers at Riga Airport, just like in other air hubs in the region. The total number of transit passengers is down by 60 % as compared to 2019. However, also during this period, with new flight connections and routes being established, a gradual increase has been observed – in October, almost one fifth or 20 % of travellers chose Riga Airport as a connecting point for further journeys.
Thus, the gap between the number of passengers handled this year and the pre-pandemic period has decreased, with this year's October figures differing from October 2019 by just over 20 %, the best indicator since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Also in October, the most popular destinations from Riga with the highest average seat occupancy were flights to holiday destinations in Southern Europe and resort cities in Egypt during the school holidays at the end of October.
In October, the Airport handled 5 093 flights, of which 4 598 were passenger aircraft, 150 cargo flights and 345 business aviation and technical flights. The total number of flights operated in the first ten months of this year was 45 800 or 53 % more than a year before (Jan–Oct 2021 – 29 900 flights), while the number of handled passenger aircraft almost doubled (Jan–Oct 2021 – 21 300, Jan–Oct 2022 – 40 300).
In October, almost 1 700 tonnes of air cargo were handled, bringing the total volume of air cargo handled in the first ten months of the year to 17 390 tonnes.
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