Thursday’s ceremony of reopening Lithuania’s main airport will be attended by Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis, Valdis Lejnieks, chairman of the management board at Latvia’s construction company A.C.B., and top executives of Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports, or LOU), the operator of the country’s three major international airports.
According to LOU, a plane from Riga will be the first to land on the renovated runway shortly after midnight on Friday and the first aircraft will take off for Warsaw early in the morning.
The opening of the renovated runway follows several days of testing by a special aircraft of Britain’s Flight Calibration Services.
The renovation involved replacing the old pavement and reinforcing its foundation, installing new drainage and rainwater collection systems and upgrading the lighting control system. The renovation project, worth over 18 million euros, was carried out by a consortium of Latvia’s A.C.B. and Lithuania’s Autokausta.
Vilnius Airport says that its runway, last renovated two decades ago, was in a very poor condition.
Most airlines diverted their flights to Kaunas Airport, some 100 kilometers away from the capital, after Vilnius Airport shut for renovation on July 14. The smaller airport served about 370,000 passengers and some 3,500 flights during the 35-day period.