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Riga International Airport

Riga International Airport
Airport information
 Location of airport in Riga
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Latvia
(Joint stock company)
LocationMārupe municipality, Latvia
Elevation11 m (36 ft)
Number of Passengers4663692

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Riga International Airport was built in 1973 as an alternative to Spilve Airport, which had become outdated. It is in Mārupe municipality, 5.4 NM west of Riga, the capital of Latvia. It is the largest airport in the Baltic states and is directly connected to over 80 destinations in 30 countries. Renovation and modernization of the airport was completed in 2001, coinciding with the 800th anniversary of the founding of the city. The airport is a state-owned joint-stock company, with the owner of all shares being the government of Latvia. The holder of the state capital share is Latvia's Ministry of Transport. Riga International Airport is a hub for airBaltic, SmartLynx Airlines, RAF-Avia, Vip Avia and Inversija airlines.

In 2006, the new north terminal extension was opened. The airport has three terminals: A & C for non-Schengen, and B for Schengen departures. Arrivals 1, in terminal A, handles the Schengen arrivals, while Arrivals 2, in terminal C, handles the non-Schengen arrivals. Also, a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility was opened in the autumn of 2006, to be run as a joint venture between two local companies - Concors and SR-Technik.

The Latvian government also plans to build another terminal capable of handling 20 million passengers a year. The first part of this project began in 2008. The airport also plans to build new hotels, a business park, a second pier, new parking, a second runway, a new control tower, a new high-speed tram link or railway to the city centre, and a new check-in hall, all by 2011. The airport is currently soliciting bids for airport expansion that encompasses, as the first stage, a construction of a new (fourth) terminal with 23 gates facing north, and in the second stage, seamlessly joining the current airport terminals with the new terminal in a unified architectural entity.

As the Latvian government may be backing out of the state financed plan to build the 20 million passenger capable terminal, airBaltic is now in the planning stage to, by 2014, build a second terminal, capable of servicing 40 planes and 5000 passengers per hour, that is equivalent to approximately 7.5 million passengers per year, for its own exclusive use, located right next to the current terminal, while leaving the current terminal (planned capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year, but easily capable of handling twice more at good service levels) for all other airlines to use. There will be also an additional entry/exit built to/from the runway, in order to minimize delays and maximize the airport capacity, as it is expected to hit over 10 million/year passengers combined handling by 2014. The airport has ILS CAT I.

The magazine GatewayRiga is available for visitors and passengers travelling through Riga airport. It has information on new airlines serving Riga, new destinations and routes, and other information about the airport itself and surrounding facilities. It is published three times per year by SIA Check-In Media.

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