Lithuanian Airports Seeks New Contractor For New Vilnius Terminal

The company that manages Vilnius Airport is looking for a new contractor to build its new departures terminal. Announced on March 23rd, Lithuanian Airports has terminated its contract for this work with the existing construction company and will immediately issue a new international public procurement tender to search for a replacement firm.

Lithuanian Airports Seeks New Contractor For New Vilnius Terminal
The previous contractor decided to withdraw from the project due to hardships faced with pandemic restrictions. Photo: State Enterprise Lithuanian Airports

Contract terminated

Lithuanian Airports had originally selected Lithuanian construction firm Mitnija to build its new passenger departures terminal. However, the global health crisis and national restrictions have disrupted the plan to the extent that the company was unable to work on the project for four months. 

“We are upset and regret that we have to exit from the construction of the passenger terminal at Vilnius Airport…Unfortunately, but a break of more than four months costs too much: the team dedicated to the project did not work, we did not receive the expected income and profit, and could not commit to new customers. The current situation is too risky for us, especially now when the world is still living in economic and social tension caused by the global pandemic.” -Julius Gendvilis, CEO, Mitnija

Lithuanian Airports Seeks New Contractor For New Vilnius Terminal
Vilnius Airport is the largest commercial airport in Lithuania. However, it is still relatively small, having served just over five million passengers in 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Marius Gelžinis, the CEO of Lithuanian Airports, noted that there have also been difficulties in relation to the funding of the project’s construction. Again, this was due to challenges in the aviation sector caused by the pandemic.

Currently, partial funding of the project has been secured from the Nordic Investment Bank. Meanwhile, “intensive communication” with the Ministry of Transport and Communications is taking place regarding the rest of the funding.

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The search for a new contractor

“[A]fter Mitnija has suspended its participation in the project, we are ready to continue preparatory works and immediately announce a search for a new contractor,” Gelžinis goes on to say.

Lithuanian Airports is hoping for a smooth transition to a new contractor. In fact, it plans to secure an agreement with a new contractor before the end of 2021. A new firm will be selected through an international tender procedure. 

The new two-story terminal is described as follows:

  • On the ground floor will be passenger check-in and public spaces, cafes, airline offices.
  • The second floor will host a security check area and departures area for Schengen passengers.
  • The building will also be equipped with necessary technical spaces: luggage screening and sorting facilities, premises of engineering systems.
  • A gallery will ensure convenient connectivity between the new terminal and the existing passenger terminal.
Lithuanian Airports Seeks New Contractor For New Vilnius Terminal
Headquartered in Riga (Latvia), airBaltic is one of the main carriers operating at Vilnius Airport, connecting to a number of major cities in the region. Photo: airBaltic

Upon completion of the new terminal, the total area of the terminals of Vilnius Airport will increase by a third. Furthermore, passenger throughput will double, from 900 to 2,400 passengers per hour.

Remaining competitive in the region

The airport group CEO notes that a new terminal is an important project to improve the connectivity of the entire country and will determine its competitiveness in the region – particularly in the context of recovering aviation.

Lithuanian Airports Seeks New Contractor For New Vilnius Terminal
Vilnius Airport (VNO) is somewhat in the middle of a number of other Eastern European hubs, including Warsaw (WAW), Riga (RIX), Minsk (MSQ), and Tallinn (TLL). Photo: GCMap.com

Regionally, having over five million passengers in 2019, Lithuania’s Vilnius Airport is up against neighboring Riga (7.8 million passengers), Warsaw Chopin (18.86 million passengers), and Minsk (2.2 million passengers).

Do you think Lithuanian Airports will have an easy time finding a new contractor for the job? Let us know in the comments.

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