Vilnius International Airport
The country of Lithuania has four airports available. Vilnius International Airport is the largest and busiest of the four. It is located on a plain that is a few miles south of the center of the city of Vilnius. The city is the capital of Lithuania. The airport has been through some difficult times as different Lithuanian and European airlines came into existence and then collapsed or stopped service to the region over the years. It is currently one of the fastest growing airports in Europe even though there is only one open runway available.
History of Vilnius Airport
The first terminal was built at Vilnius International Airport in 1932. The base was occupied during World War II. It was not until 1945 that the original terminal was demolished and a new terminal constructed. The style of the new terminal building was heavily influenced by Soviet architecture. It had a very utilitarian and rectangular appearance. The terminal was also adorned with statues that depict different pilots and workers who were important to the Soviet philosophy. The first commercial flight left from the new airport in 1954 and was destined for Moscow. Lithuania gained independence in 1991. The terminal building that is now used for arrivals was preserved. The original terminal is now a historical landmark in Lithuania that cannot be significantly changed.
Vilnius International Airport still uses the original Soviet-style building for arrivals and check-ins. Most of the hammer and sickle fixtures have been removed although the stone wreathes and other architectural elements of Soviet design remain. The building is divided into three areas. The large central area is used for arrivals while the right and left wings are designated as terminals B and C. A new terminal was built in 2007. The 404,000 square foot facility contains six bridges for boarding and several retail stores. The terminal is a very modern facility that has new security and check-in equipment. There are also two lounges available. One is for business travelers while the other is for individuals who have special credentials.
The Vilnius International Airport has only one runway available for flights. The runway is 8,250 feet long and 164 feet wide. It is paved with asphalt and concrete. The runway is perfect for standard commercial passenger flights. It is not able to accommodate some of the largest planes that are starting to appear in the skies. The runway is equipped with precision instrument landing systems.
Vilnius International Airport hosted more than 2 million travelers in 2012. This is an increase from previous years. The airport also saw close to 30,000 aircraft movements during 2012 including commercial and chartered flights. Over 99 percent of these flights were international while less than 1 percent of flights were domestic. The airport processed 5,300 tons of cargo from freight carriers in 2012 including 1,000 tons of mail. Although the airport is smaller than some other European locations, it has experienced a 28 percent increase in passengers between 2011 and 2012 making it one of the fastest growing destinations in the region.
Parking at the Airport
The airport has several parking locations outside of the main terminal. There are 292 short-term parking spaces available. The airport also has 325 long-term spaces for vehicles. The remaining parking spaces are designated for businesses or employees. Vilnius International Airport covers 808 acres of land. The entire facility is over seven miles long. Lithuania is part of the Schengen Agreement that governs travel between certain European countries. Some of the upgrades that have been made to the airport were done in order to comply with the requirements of the agreement.