Lithuania’s new plan: new airport and seaport

Vilniaus airport DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

A new airport and seaport may emerge in Lithuania. Namely, such changes are currently presented in one of the country’s most important strategic documents that are currently being negotiated – Lithuania’s general plan up to 2050, Vilmantas Venckūnas wrote in

The Republic of Lithuania Territory General Plan (LRBP) contains two alternatives as to how Lithuania should develop over the next 30 years. While the alternatives are rather different, they both outline the construction of two strategic objects – a new airport and a new deep-water external seaport.

Locations set

The LRBP writes about transport and mobility objects:

“Maintaining and reinforcing three international level transport service objects (Vilnius and Kaunas airports, the Klaipėda Seaport), two national levels (Palanga and Šiauliai airports), plans for three new transport infrastructure objects (the Rail Baltica project, a new airport, a new external deep-water seaport).

While Rail Baltica has been a topic for a long time now, new air and seaports are often spoken of quite vaguely by government institutions. The makers of the LRBP have already assigned preliminary locations for the new sea and airports. The new airport should emerge near Kaišiadorys, while the new seaport – in Klaipėda or close to Palanga.

Precise location not disclosed

Director general of Lithuanian Airports Marius Gelžinis told the news portal that the makers of the LRBP consulted them over the location of the new airport.

“When looking for the most suitable location in the general area specified by international consultants, we considered distances to the major cities, existing and planned infrastructure solutions, existing land usage, the territory’s level of habitation, existing air conditions, landscape and numerous other factors,” M. Gelžinis stated.

According to him, in order to avoid real estate speculation, the exact location of the new airport is currently not being disclosed.

However, a new airport between Vilnius and Kaunas will take some time yet. According to M. Gelžinis, the development vision for the new airport is clear, the stages for necessary work on it are clear. Firstly, according to him, the land will be reserved, establishing safeguards in the country’s general plan. However, even when the land is reserved, the airport might not necessarily become reality.

“A decision on the construction of a new airport is to be made in consideration of whether the passenger flow growth scenario turns out true. Equipment should only be rolling into the construction site no earlier than in fifteen or twenty years. Up to then, there’s much homework yet to do,” M. Gelžinis spoke.

Nothing decided

While from M. Gelžinis’ words, it may appear that the location for a new airport has already been chosen, just isn’t being disclosed, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has a different explanation for

“The exact location of the new airport’s construction will be set after preparing the new airport’s development opportunity study and the LRBP only specifies a preliminary construction location,” the ministry’s response reads.

According to the ministry’s representatives, the location for the external seaport is also undecided, but two alternatives are being considered – either in Melnragė or in Būtingė.

“However, after approving the LRBP, it will be necessary to perform more accurate evaluations and studies, for example for the planned economic activities’ environmental footprint so that the external seaport could be built,” the ministry stated.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications says that the possibility for new air and seaport will be defined in the development of the Lithuanian communication up to 2050 strategy that is being drafted.

The full LRBP has been confirmed by the cabinet, now the Seimas is to rule on which LRBP edition to select.

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