Next spring Palanga airport is planning flights to London and Hamburg. However, for these flights to start, seven municipalities of Klaipėda’s district will have to find 1 million Litas, lrt.lt wrote on 2 October.
Today, Palanga airport offers return flights to Copenhagen, Riga, Oslo and Moscow. Last year more than 100 thousand tourists passed through the airport which was a record. The airport has even bigger plans for the current year and so far it has seen 20% growth.
Despite high growth, the number of tourists from Germany is down by 10%. Tourists complain that it is hard to reach the seaside because there are no direct flights.
The airport is already talking with several airlines about direct flights to Hamburg and London. It is predicted that flights between Palanga – Hamburg would transport 20 thousand passengers per year and Palanga – London up to 35 thousand. It would not only increase tourism but would also stimulate growth in the whole region.
“One tourist in Klaipėda spends about 100 euros per day; transport, hotel and shopping included. So it is reasonable to expect that over six days a tourist would spend at least 500 euros,“– the head of Klaipėda’s tourism and culture information centre, Romena Savickienė, explained.
However, for new flights to be made possible, financial help from Klaipeda’s district municipalities would be essential. This is common practice for the funding of small airports throughout Europe.
“Nowadays airlines assess all the likely risks. They demand promotional programs aimed at increasing the flow of tourists from a particular region and the launch of marketing campaigns”, – Director of Palanga’s airport, Jolanta Jusevičiūtė, explained.
The cost per year for one new route would be around half million Litas.
“Personally, I would agree to be involved in a new program. From what I have heard, the mayors of other municipalities tend to think the same way. The final decision, however, will be made by city and district councils”, – Mayor of Klaipėda, Vytautas Grubliauskas, said.
For flights to start next spring, politicians have until November to reach a decision. By that time, airports and airlines have to publish details of routes for the coming year.
Translated by Karolis Kyga
Edited by Anthony Peters