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NEWS Last modified on June 3, 2016

Green light to start Lithuania airports concession process

Lithuania has approved new legislation paving the way for a competitive bidding process for the concession to operate Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports.

A draft law entrusting the management of the gateways to an operator with "a great deal of international experience' was submitted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and approved by Lithuania's Parliament, the Seimas, today.

According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Rimantas Sinkevičius, the concession project will help Lithuania develop the airports and achieve "significant results" on the Baltic market.

He says: “The value of the aviation sector for the country's economy is tremendous. I believe that this project will become another success story and enable successful competition with other Baltic states which have not yet taken this step."

It is believed that foreign investment in the gateways, currently managed by the state-owned Lithuania Airports, will act as the catalyst for traffic growth.

"The concession project will add to the country's connectivity at each of Lithuania's airports," says a statement.

"The assets created for investments of the concessionaire will remain the state property; however they will be maintained and improved from private funds."

The government believes that change will also lead to the development of more passenger-focused services at the airport and the "better use of commercial areas".

Gediminas Almantas, CEO of Lithuanian Airports, is delighted by the decison, which he describes as a "political step in the development of air transport in the country".

 “It is indeed a remarkable achievement for all of us." he says.

"The concessions model is the best option for our market in order to develop the business activities of the Lithuanian airports from a strategic perspective. 

"By virtue of the best-practice model, we will expand the development of the Lithuanian air transport sector and turn it towards a long-term strategy.

"I believe that in partnership with an experienced operator, we will become the leaders in the Baltic region."
InterVISTAS Consulting will act as an adviser to the Lithuania government for the concessions process.

A total of 4.2 million passengers and 50,000 flights were handled across the country's three main gateways in 2015.

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