In November, almost 392,000 passengers travelled through Lithuanian airports and 3,728 flights were handled. In November, 79% of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic (same month of 2019) was restored. Meanwhile, cargo traffic is even ahead of the same month in 2019, with a 28% increase in cargo volumes. According to aviation experts, November's results indicate that the sector is returning to normal seasonality across all statistical categories.
“The pandemic has disrupted the normal seasonality of aviation, forcing airlines to plan at very short intervals for fear of uncertainty across the market. Today, we are already seeing the return of long-term seasonality and long-term planning and preparation for the upcoming summer season. As always, there are slightly fewer people travelling in November, but as the year-end holidays approach, cargo volumes are growing, and the latter was up by 28% last month,” said Tomas Zitikis, Route Development Executive at Lithuanian Airports.
He specified that almost 1,500 tonnes of cargo were handled through Vilnius Airport last month, 421 tonnes through Kaunas Airport and almost 11 tonnes through Palanga Airport. In comparison, in 2019, Vilnius Airport handled 1.3 thousand tonnes of cargo, Kaunas Airport handled 256 tonnes, and Palanga Airport handled less than 1 tonne of cargo.
According to T. Zitikis, seasonality is not only observed in freight transport, but also in the analysis of growing passenger traffic.
“In the European aviation market, it is common to see slightly fewer passengers travelling in November compared to the summer or early autumn months. This was typical of pre-pandemic aviation and we are seeing the same trend this year. There are increasing signs that aviation is returning to its normal cycles, with passenger traffic increasing in summer and cargo traffic increasing in winter. In fact, even with a slight decrease in passenger traffic, Kaunas Airport continues to outperform the pre-pandemic results, which is an exceptionally good result that illustrates the rapid pace of growth,” said T. Zitikis.
In November, passenger traffic at Kaunas Airport grew by about 1% compared to the same period of 2019, and the number of flights grew by 7%.
Passenger and flight statistics at Lithuanian Airports
According to T. Zitikis, last month Lithuanian Airports managed to restore 79% of passengers and 78% of flight traffic. In 2019, 80 destinations were offered to passengers, in 2021 - 75, and this year - 66.
In November, Vilnius Airport managed to restore 73% of its pre-pandemic passenger traffic. Last month, 280,000 passengers travelled through this gateway. In comparison, 383,000 passengers travelled through Vilnius Airport in the same period in 2019 and 225,000 last year. In November 2021 and 2022, 2.6 thousand flights were handled, compared to almost 3.7 thousand in the same period in 2019.
Kaunas Airport continues to outperform the pre-pandemic results: in November, slightly more than 87 thousand passengers travelled through Kaunas Airport gates and 806 flights were handled. In the same period in 2019, 86,000 passengers and 753 flights were handled, while in November 2021, more than 72,000 passengers and 762 flights were handled.
Palanga Airport is also recovering. Last month, Palanga Airport welcomed more than 24,000 passengers and handled 294 flights. In comparison, in 2019, almost 27,000 passengers travelled through the airport and 366 flights were serviced, compared to 11,000 passengers and 214 flights in the same period last year.