It is currently possible to fly to 46 destinations from Riga. Last year, there were over 100. The number of passengers transported is currently 20% of last year's volume, but this is increasing every week, Freivalde said.
Currently, seven airlines are in operation. Most flights are carried out by airBaltic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, flights from Riga were serviced by 19-20 airlines.
Charter flights are resuming very slowly. One of the most popular destinations for charter passengers – Turkey – is still closed for Latvia's travelers. Currently, the most popular destination for such flights is Greece, and these flights are packed, Freivalde said.
If the increase in passenger numbers continues at the current rate, Riga airport could service 2.5-3 million passengers by the end of the year. That's about 60-70% fewer passengers than last year.
“Financially, of course, we feel it. We were forced to dismiss some of the employees because demand has fallen so much that we cannot employ all of them,” Freivalde said.
Due to the risks of infection, procedures for the service of passengers have been changed at the airport. All passengers must be in protective masks and keep their distance, and use provided hand disinfectants.
Airport customers should also keep track of whether the planned flight will take place at all. “The flight situation changes every week depending on how high the infection rate is in a given week in a given country. Passengers should therefore also be very careful and ask about requirements in Riga, flight requirements, and the requirements in the country of destination, said Freivalde.