In 2022, Riga Airport handled 5.38 million passengers, which is an increase of almost 2.3 times as compared to 2021 when 2.35 million passengers were handled by the Airport. The upward trend in the number of passengers demonstrates that, just like other European airports, Riga Airport has been able to recover after the end of the pandemic restrictions.
The rate of this recovery has been largely affected by a drop in the number of transfer passengers resulting not only from the restrictions due to the pandemic, but also, and especially, from the military activities of Russia started in Ukraine in February, along with the global sanctions associated with them. In 2022, the number of direct passengers already reached 80 percent of the pre-pandemic numbers, while the number of passengers using Riga as a layover airport fell to less than a half of what was there before the pandemic, with 2.4 million transit passengers in 2019 and 1 million in 2022. The overall share of transfer passengers at Riga Airport in 2022 was 19 %.
2022 also saw a 40 % year-on-year increase in the number of flights handled at the Airport, for a total of 54 818 flights. Of these, 48 427 were passenger flights: an increase of 69 % as compared to 28 694 in 2021.
In December 2022, 459 thousand passengers used the services of Riga Airport, which is 51 % more than in December 2021, while the number of handled passenger flights rose by 10 %, reaching 4117. Throughout December, flight load exceeded 70 percent, meaning that at least for now, the rising energy costs and prices have not affected the purchasing power of passengers and their desire to travel by air.
This year, Riga Airport expects to handle 6.3 million passengers and, thus, achieve an increase of 16 % as compared to 2022. Latest international forecasts show that the aviation industry will reach its pre-pandemic indicators a year later than previously expected, in 2025.