Lithuanian Airports, in pursuit of its strategic goal of becoming a CO2-neutral organisation by 2030, announces that it will start a modernisation programme for all buses serving passengers at Vilnius Airport in autumn this year. Public procurement procedures will be launched and 12 hybrid or all-electric buses are expected to be procured and made available to ground handlers over the coming year, replacing all diesel buses currently used by ground handlers.
Currently, privately-owned buses at Vilnius Airport are used to transport passengers between the aircraft and the terminal. Under current regulations, this is done by ground handling companies, which are directly contracted by the airlines to handle passengers. Lithuanian Airports has decided to make a change in management and to assign airport buses to the central infrastructure. The new buses will be managed by the airports, just like the baggage lanes, check-in desks and other parts of the infrastructure, but the service itself will be provided by the employees of the ground handling companies.
"Lithuanian Airports are undergoing a major renewal not only with new terminals in Vilnius and Kaunas by 2025, but also by not waiting for solutions from the servicing business - they will offer the newest fleet of buses serving passengers. I am pleased that airports are setting a good example by understanding the state's ambition to go green. I appreciate the company's transformation and the steps it is taking to switch to electric buses, so that the smell of diesel engines at airports will no longer be present," said Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications.
Aurimas Stikliūnas, Interim General Manager of Lithuanian Airports, says that negotiations with ground handling companies on faster, larger-scale investments in upgrading the bus fleet managed by them to less polluting vehicles, which have been going on for several years, have not yielded the desired result, so the decision has been made to take over the initiative and thus to improve the quality of the passenger service and to pursue the goals of efficiency and environment protection.
"We believe that passenger comfort, environmental goals and efficiency are all compatible and that it is necessary to invest in this case, which is why we will take up the goal of upgrading the buses ourselves, and it is likely that by 2025-2026, all the buses at Vilnius Airport will be brand-new and comfortable," said the Interim General Manager of Lithuanian Airports.
The investment amount of Lithuanian Airports into bus fleet renewal will be determined after public procurement procedures.
According to the General Manager, Lithuanian Airports have set ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions from their direct and partner operations, and therefore a fundamental change is needed in the passenger transport sector in the coming years. Lithuanian Airports will also soon start the development of charging stations in the inner areas of Vilnius Airport, so that the future bus service will be ready even before it starts.
It should be reminded that due to certain airline requirements, ground handling companies operating at Vilnius Airport currently pick up and drop off passengers on some flights by buses instead of through special galleries in the terminals (directly to the aircraft).