Siauliai International Airport to be home to Europe’s largest Aviatic MRO centre
Having wreaked havoc on the entire aviation sector in the spring of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was nonetheless a successful period for Siauliai International Airport, located in the western part of Lithuania. Featuring the Baltics’ longest runaway of 3.5 km and having waited long for recognition, the airport is at long last able to put its advantages to good use. The renewed infrastructure will allow the airport to receive very large Boeing and Airbus transatlantic aircrafts, and aircraft maintenance and repair companies are already settling in in its vast territory.
According to Aurelija Kuezada, director of Siauliai Airport, having had a stymieing effect on some businesses, the pandemic opened up huge to others. Siauliai Airport falls within the latter category.
“We are at the finishing stages of the 9.5 million euros infrastructure modernization project. We will be able to receive large transatlantic aircrafts thanks to the widened runaway, which we extended from 21 to 23 metres to match the wingspan of these large aircrafts. Runaway B can already be used by aircrafts such as Boeing 737, Airbus 319, and Airbus 320, but the extended runaway will now be ready for aircraft with twice the passenger capacity, such as Boeing 747 and Airbus 330,” she says.
Siauliai Airport will be home to Europe’s largest Aviatic MRO aircraft maintenance and repair centre. The hangar of the strategic investor will take up an area of 23k sq m and create around 1,000 jobs.
“We’re slowly but steadily becoming an aviation business center. We are leasing an area of 63k sq m to the Estonian-capital aircraft maintenance and repair company, Aviatic MRO, for parking aircrafts. For a sense of scale, the area can accommodate 16 aircrafts with a passenger capacity of up to 180 at any one time. In April, the company started the construction of the hangar, which has an estimated value of around 20 million euros. It will become operational in the second quarter of 2022,” said Kuezada.
Aviatic MRO has concluded a strategic cooperation agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries, an Israeli company specializing in converting passenger aircrafts into cargo carriers – a need that became especially apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Aviatic MRO also makes an effective use of the aircraft parking areas on lease from Siauliai International Airport, expanding its cooperation with air carriers and planning to bring quite a few very large aircrafts to Siauliai.
“We are also able to offer our investor both room for expansion and a truly unique infrastructure that allows to receive large aircrafts operating transatlantic flights. Moreover, Siauliai Airport is the region’s only airport that has a warehouse with a veterinary certificate and a lab, and probably the only one used for animal export by air,” says Kuezada.
According to her, the competitive advantages of Siauliai Airport do not end there. The airport is located in a convenient area, allowing to further distribute and transport cargo by rail, sea or land. The airport also offers competitive prices for cargo transportation, on-site aircraft, passenger, and cargo services, land lease, and other services.
“The airport is not subject to noise level regulations and is open 24 hours a day – this is made possible due to its status of a military airport. We have hosted NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission since 2004 and the airport has its own security team that works closely with the Lithuanian Air force, all of which ensures exceptional security. Despite these unique advantages that make our airport stand out from the competition, we do not stop there and continuously look for ways to attract new clients and investors, always staying open to dialogue with businesses. The pandemic has shown to us that a crisis can sometimes serve as a springboard for the future,” says Kuezada.