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During the past century Latvian aviation, like the country itself,
experienced a number of fateful turning points. The former province of Russia,
which won independence after the 1st World War, established small air force and
civil aviation, but lost everything due to the Soviet occupation in the summer
of 1940. Independence of the country was regained in August 1991.
Riga airport was built in the present location in October 1974.
However, it remained unknown for the world operating as the local airport
within the former USSR. Only in 1991 Riga destination appeared in the
timetables of well-known Western airlines - first SAS, then Lufthansa.
The capital of Latvia developed historically into the regional
centre of the Baltic’s. It has been the intersection of major land and sea
routes since long ago. Nowadays the number of air routes keeps increasing. Riga
is the biggest city of the Baltic States. Riga airport has the largest number
of air passengers handled during the past 10 years.
The number of passengers has doubled since 1993. Copenhagen,
Stockholm, London, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Moscow, Prague and Vienna routes have
the largest number of passengers. Furthermore, direct flights link the capital
of Latvia with Honk-Kong, Kiev, Tallinn, Tel Aviv, Vilnius and Warsaw.
During this period Riga airport has implemented several important
modernization and expansion projects. The lounge for business class passengers
and VIP centre was opened, and Flight Information Display System (FIDS) and
Common Use Terminal Equipment System (CUTE) has been installed.
However, chief of company consider that the airport development and
modernization should be at least a step ahead of passenger growth. He forecast
that by stable economic development of Latvia the airport passenger numbers
will grow considerably in the new millennium. The former terminal was not
spacious enough and could not provide full comfort for passengers. Therefore
major reconstruction started on the eve of the new millennium by pulling down
the old one-level arrival area and by constructing a new two-level building 5
times exceeding the size of the former one. The former departure area was
reconstructed next and a new pier with 5 passenger bridges was built instead.
Altogether terminal was extended by more than 10 thousand square meters and 30
million USD were invested in the implementation of the project.
The reconstruction permitted to expand considerably the duty-free
trade centre. Our duty-free shops offering souvenirs, perfumery, cosmetics,
jeweller, watches, accessories, sweets, wines and spirits, tobacco goods,
sportswear and toys are very popular. You can purchase both Latvian products as
well as goods offered by famous international producers. Every departing
passenger purchases goods for average value of 18 USD.
New bars and cafes have been opened.
Spacious shopping halls, bars and cafes fit well in the new airport
interior that includes the elements of glass, metal and natural materials, like
wood, stone and others forming Riga airport image of today.
The main idea of the new design was to construct spacious, light
and, which is most important, transparent rooms for passengers to make one feel
more and safe.
Geometry of the new building facades differs from the one associated
with Riga airport till now. The glazed rhombic prisms laid in various planes
encircle the new constructions. The facades resemble crystalline ice compositions
arousing northern feelings. Harmony of grey and blue colours is dominant in the
A modern Building Management System (BMS), air conditioning system,
electric facilities and security equipment have been installed in the new
building. Handling of persons with special needs has improved. Riga airport has
succeeded in solving the most ......