RIGA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Passenger traffic at Riga International Airport plummeted 74 percent in 2020 year-on-year to just 2.01 million people amid the coronavirus pandemic, the airport said in a statement Tuesday.
According to preliminary results, Latvia's national carrier airBaltic flew 57 percent of the passengers served at Riga Airport last year. Ireland's low-cost carrier Ryanair flew 16 percent and Hungary's no-frills airline Wizz Air 9 percent of the airport's passengers.
The number of flights handled by Riga Airport fell by 59.1 percent from 2019 to 35,592 flights last year. Flights on regular commercial routes were down 68 percent.
Riga Airport CEO Laila Odina said in an interview with Latvian public radio Tuesday that the airport expects to receive 2.8 million passengers in 2021, a target that might appear rather unrealistic given existing COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing pandemic.
However, relaxed travel regulations coming into effect on Jan. 15 will hopefully enable the airport to gradually increase operations, Odina said, adding that by May or June the airport could be operating at 30 to 40 percent of its 2019 capacity.
Meanwhile, cargo flights handled by Riga Airport nearly doubled in 2020, while business, technical, military and other flights grew 82.6 percent.
Riga Airport, the largest air traffic hub in the Baltic states, handled more than 7.8 million passengers in 2019. Enditem