In the first quarter of this year, the number of flights in the Lithuanian airspace remained almost unchanged, compared to last year. The total flight number in the Lithuanian airspace increased by 0.45 per cent, and there was a 0.1 per cent decrease in overflights.
During the three months of this year, it was in Vilnius airport that the largest number of aircraft movements were handled, their number made up 10.3 thousand, i.e. decreased by 0.35 per cent, compared to last year. The number of aircraft movements handled in Kaunas, Palanga and Šiauliai were, respectively: 2.2 thousand (increase by 11.4 per cent, compared to last year), 0.86 thousand (13.1 per cent increase), 1.1 thousand (2.6 per cent increase).
“The evolution of flight number in Lithuania is mostly impacted by number of overflights which usually amount to about three quarters of all the flights operated in the Lithuanian airspace. A slight decrease of flight number in Lithuania has been largely due to constraints of the German airspace, with many routes being directed to Lithuania. Due to the airspace constraints, mostly related with the shortage of air traffic controllers in Germany, airlines were forced to change the flight routes and redirect them to north – via the airspace controlled by Sweden, Latvia and Estonia – thus bypassing Lithuania”, says Mindaugas Gustys, CEO of SE Oro navigacija.
Germany is one of the five major states, from or via the airspace of which, transit flights cross the Lithuanian airspace as well. For instance, in March of this year, the number of transit flights from Germany crossing Lithuania decreased even by 16.6 per cent: from 2,565 flights in March 2018 to 2,140 flights this year. This was largely due to the above-mentioned constraints of the German airspace related with the shortage of air traffic controllers.
According to the Multilateral Agreement Lithuania has delegated the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) billing and collection of charges on its behalf. Costs of billing and collection of charges are covered by airspace users.
Airlines pay the route air navigation service charges for the services provided during overflights. When aircraft take off from/land at one of the Lithuanian airports, the terminal air navigation service charges are paid by airlines. The air navigation services provided in Lithuania are export services as they are mostly used by foreign economic entities (about 99 per cent). Costs of SE Oro navigacija are fully covered by revenue form main activities and the enterprise receives no funds from the state budget.
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