Riga International Airport is situated around 13km south-west of Riga and is the largest airport in Latvia (67 direct destinations and 18 operating airlines). The airport was first built in 1973 and has a single runway, 18/36 with a length of 8,366ft (2,550m × 46m).
In 2007, 3.1m passengers passed through the airport, an increase of 27% from 2006, boosted by low-cost airlines. While to confirm the popularity of the airport in the first four months of 2008 it serviced 993,524 passengers and so was on target for another record year. In 2009, the passenger traffic handled by the airport was approximately 4m.
The airport is owned by the Republic of Latvia as a joint-stock company, with the Latvian Government Ministry of Transport being the owner of all shares.
Riga expansion project
The airport has undergone a series of expansion projects since the early 2000s (designers Arhis and Cowi). In 2006 the airport opened a new north terminal extension and also a new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility (opened in autumn 2006 and is operated by Concors and SR-Technik).
A further LVL200m (€284.58m) expansion project is now underway that will involve construction of a 23-gate north-facing terminal (the fourth) capable of handling 15m to 20m passengers a year.
The first phase of the project began in mid-2008; following the construction of the terminal it will then be joined to existing buildings. The extension of the existing terminal will serve as a transitional module in the future, linking to the new terminal.
The airport (€400m investment) also has major plans to construct several new hotels, a business park, a second pier, a new parking area, an additional runway, a new 10,000m² departure terminal, a new aircraft control tower, a new high-speed tram link or railway linking the airport to the city centre, and a new check-in hall (300,000m²). All of this is expected to be completed by 2013. The airport expansion construction works are being undertaken by EBO International of Norway.
In March 2008, the airport at Riga began a runway extension, drainage and lighting system reconstruction project. The work saw the main runway extended by 650m to give a total length of 3,200m. In March 2008, the approach lights of the runway were abbreviated to a distance of 400m from the runway’s end. Work on the extension of the runway was completed in October 2008.
The completion of this extension project gave the airport the capacity to serve international flights and accommodate large aircraft such as the Airbus A340 and the Boeing 747 and 777. The renewed runway infrastructure also included the construction of a new taxiway, Delta (announced in September 2007), and the recently completed taxiway, Alpha.
The airport has three terminals namely A, B and C. Terminals A and C are for non-Schengen departures while terminal B is for Schengen departures. Terminal A handles Schengen arrivals and terminal C handles non-Schengen arrivals.
The airport offers short term and long-term parking facilities with approximately 1,500 parking lots. Short-term parking (P1) is located opposite to the terminal building. Long term parking (P2) is 400m away from the terminal building. Parking lot P3 provides long term parking and is located opposite Aviation Museum.
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