Daugavpils dreams of a regional airport

Daugavpils municipality has been trying for many years to move forward the creation and development of an airport. For the first time, the State has allocated funding of EUR 100 000 for the geological survey and pre-project exploration of the Lociki airport site, Latvian Radio reported August 10.

Soviet Army heritage - Daugavpils airfield, located 15 kilometres from Daugavpils, Lociki village, was obtained by Daugavpils City Council 15 years ago. Over these years, millions have been invested in the airfield, investors sought for, but despite no success, the local government's expectations and the development of this great facility have not been lost, said Daina Krīviņa, head of the Development Department of Daugavpils Council.

"This airport is also of strategic importance at national level. But we need to update the technical state of the airfield and the economic rationale for development," said Krīviņa.

The foundation stone is already at issue - the Daugavpils airport project is included in Latvia's National Development Plan 2021-2027, and the state also supported research, which is necessary for further development of the project, said Daugavpils City Council Vice-President Jānis Lāčplēsis.

"The country has provided €100,000 of funding for documentation. We expect an analysis of the situation and financial calculations, possible costs and financial directions.

We are also looking forward to geological research in Lociki to understanding what the situation is," added Lāčplēsis.

Although various trials have been carried out in the past, the time has passed, the information needs to be updated, Daina Krīviņa said. “The object is there, the land has been preserved. Of course, time and nature change everything. Years have passed and we need to examine the state of buildings and engineering communications."

Ardenis Ltd, which carries out research despite the state of the area, sees development potential here, said Gatis Kristaps, the company's representative.

"The area is an appropriate land for the airport, because the airport was already there before - in the Soviet days. But the development of commercial airport requires a very large capital injection. Our research will include both an assessment of Daugavpils' airfield development capability to provide commercial flights and an assessment of the possibilities for the development of the industrial area," said Kristaps.

"We need an airport providing international, passenger services at least to Europe and also to Russia's largest cities. This will significantly improve investor engagement and business throughout Latgale region," said Lāčplēsis.

“We [the local government] are prepared to cooperate with the State, prepared to cooperate on attracting partners. From experts, we are also looking forward to this justification and indication. The project is large, and it can be from EUR 20 to 40 million. However, in Riga there have been way more expensive projects. Why can't an amount be found for the Latgale region?”

According to the most optimistic forecasts, with the involvement of public or private investors, Daugavpils airport, as confirmed by the City Council, could be created 3-4 years later as the soonest possible option.

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