Search for contractors to develop Kaunas Airport: after reconstruction, Lithuanian airports will be able to handle more than 10 million passengers a year

Kaunas Airport is taking an important strategic step – international tenders for the selection of contractors for the passenger terminal and the northern apron expansion projects have been announced. This year’s data shows that passenger flows at Kaunas Airport are at a record high and ahead of previous forecasts. If this trend continues, this year Kaunas Airport will handle more than 1.3 million passengers, which is well above its design capacity.

According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Marius Skuodis, the development of the infrastructure of Kaunas Airport is of great importance for both the state’s economic and national defense plans.

“Kaunas Airport is one of the fastest recovering airports in the region and has been exceeding the pre-pandemic results since the spring of last year. The existing terminal is already tears at the seams at certain times because it is not equipped to handle such a rapid growth in passenger numbers. It is also very important that this airport is a logistics hub for NATO partners. Military mobility projects are being prepared, which will also contribute to expanding the airport’s capabilities,” the Minister said.

The changes will not only expand passenger capacity, but will also help to increase the volume of aircraft maintenance services, as Kaunas Airport is one of the most important aircraft repair and maintenance bases in the Baltic region, and will create conditions for the growth of freight traffic

“These two development projects are among the strategic priorities of Lithuanian Airports in 2023. They will ensure the sustainable development of the network of Lithuanian airports as a whole and, when completed in 2025, will enable them to serve more than 10 million passengers per year. These developments will also strengthen Kaunas Airport’s position as a leader in aircraft maintenance in the Baltic region. We are looking for contractors both in Lithuania and abroad. When announcing the procurement, we have set a target that the real expansion works in both the passenger terminal and the northern apron could start already at the end of this year,” says Aurimas Stikliūnas, Interim CEO of Lithuanian Airports.

Both projects are expected to be completed in 2025, as is the construction and installation of the new passenger departure terminal at Vilnius Airport. These steps will tangibly improve the capabilities of the network of Lithuanian airports by ensuring greater efficiency of aviation services and increasing the airports’ revenues from aviation and non-aviation activities.

Will work as normal

According to the data of Lithuanian Airports, this year’s performance of Kaunas Airport is exceptional, for example, in April it handled almost 115,000 passengers, a one-fifth increase compared to the record-breaking 2019. The number of flights at the second largest airport grew by 7.5%, i.e. 886 flights were operated between the two periods. The results are also positively influenced by the fact that charter companies, which had previously concentrated their operations in Vilnius, started flying to and from Kaunas Airport.

With the expansion of passenger capacity, the total area of the passenger terminal at Kaunas Airport is expected to increase by about 4,300 sq m, and the airport’s departure and arrival areas will be able to handle more than 800 passengers and up to 6 aircraft simultaneously. In comparison, Kaunas Airport is currently able to handle 4 passenger flights at a time.

The project involves the dismantling of the eastern and western facades of the airport and the addition of two new extensions on the sides. Baggage reclaim areas, Schengen and non-Schengen arrival areas and passenger areas will be extended. Technological modernization and innovation are also planned.

A.Stikliūnas points out that during the works Kaunas Airport will operate normally, which will help to maintain the rapid growth rates of aviation indicators.

More aircraft handling options

Alongside the selection of the contractor for the passenger terminal expansion, another important public procurement has been launched for the expansion of the northern apron. This project will be carried out in parallel with the passenger terminal expansion project. The CEO of Lithuanian Airports emphasises that Kaunas Airport is currently one of the leaders in the Baltic region, therefore the aim is to maintain and strengthen the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) capacity and increase competitiveness.

A.Stikliūnas is convinced that the changes at Kaunas Airport will improve Lithuania’s logistics capabilities in cooperation with NATO partners, which regularly operate flights at Kaunas Airport. “The benefits of the expansion of the northern apron of Kaunas Airport will be felt by the Lithuanian airport network and partners. We have no doubt that the infrastructure development projects will bring long-term financial returns to the State, as the expanded northern apron means additional revenues and new opportunities for Kaunas Airport,” says A Stikliūnas.

The new apron will cover an area of more than 35,000 square meters. It will provide additional aircraft parking and engine testing facilities. Once the project is completed, the number of aircraft parking spaces at Kaunas Airport is expected to increase more than one and a half times.