Gatis Kristaps


Regional airports play a significant role inpromotion of connectivity and regional development. This is one of reasons whyairports are treated as public assets and in 77 % cases (airportsproviding scheduled air transport services) owned and operated by public sectorin the EU. 71 % of these publicairports have corporatized airport operators. Latviahas threepublic civil aviation airports planned for scheduled flights until 2015: Riga InternationalAirport as well as Liepaja Airportand Ventspils Airport (Kurzeme planning region). Latviacurrently has decentralised operational model of airports. Riga InternationalAirport is owned by state and operatedby a joint stock company.Regional airports are owned by Liepaja and Ventspils municipalities andoperated by 100 % municipality owned limited liability companies. Liepaja Airport and Ventspils Airport plan to certify itsaerodromes and start scheduled flights in 2015. The long term traffic forecastof both airports is short to provide a long term financial sustainability.Regional airports are reliant on public service obligation compensations foroperation and maintenance of airfields as well as diminishing compensations toairlines for operating of scheduled flights. Considering the aerodrome’scertification and financial feasibility risks, alternative operational modelsare worth considering. They include centralised model (joint operation of allthree airports by a state owned company) and semi-centralised model (jointmanagement of regional airports by resource sharing). The main conclusion is that current decentralisedoperational model is not feasible to provide long term operationalsustainability of regional airports and it is worth considering introduction ofalternative operational models (preferably centralised model) subject tofurther analysis.

KEY WORDS: regional airports,airport management.


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