History of the Airport
Ventspils aerodrome was created before the Second World War. Until 1939 it was planned to open the Riga-Ventspils-Liepaja air route, which, however, was not realized. After the conditions of the “Base Agreement” in 1940, it was taken over by the USSR troop contingent, in June 1941, 54 Soviet bombers SB were stationed there, which was part of the 40th fast bomber aviation regiment.
Ventspils Airport was founded in 1975. One asphalt-concrete runway (1 300 m × 35 m) and two aprons (54 m × 92 m concrete and 54m x 88m asphalt) were built. At that time there was an air control dispatchers point at the aerodrome and 40-45 employees worked in the airport. The aerodrome was used by aircraft AN-24, AN-2, YAK-40, MI-2. The flight range was small and there were only two scheduled flights: Ventspils – Riga and Ventspils – Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). In addition to commercial traffic, state departments used the airport for various reasons. There were state border control flights, flights for oil pipeline control, forest patrols, traffic control, fishing inspection flights and others. Airport operation ceased in 1983 due to political decisions by the government.
The possibility re-opening the airport was first discussed in the mid-1990s by which time Ventspils had become an important transport hub. The efficiency and importance of the re-opening of the Ventspils Airport was evaluated. The main conclusions of this research were that the rehabilitation of the airport would enhance the efficiency of transport corridors and foster economic activity in the region. The region possessed all the social and economic preconditions that indicate potential demand for air traffic. An operational Ventspils Airport would promote competitiveness of the Ventspils transport hub in the European and global markets. At the time the re-opening of the airport was being considered, people in the Ventspils region and corporate clients who wished to travel by air used the airport at Riga that was 202 km away from Ventspils. This added 6–8 hours of travel time to the airport in Riga and back by road. These opportunities did not satisfy the demand for air transport traffic.
Renewal of the Ventspils Airport began in 1997. It was developed within the National Transport Development Programme of the Republic of Latvia (1996-2010).
In 2000, the airport administration was established, staff was trained, runway repairs were done. At the start of 2001 all documentation for the airport exploitation was prepared and a modern security program was developed. The plan of safety improvements for security standards was followed by the equipping of the temporary passenger service building and establishing an electric security system.
The most important result of the activities was the start of operation in 2000 upon receiving the certificate. The certificate confirmed that the aerodrome was suitable for exploitation and the first programs of flights were for conclusion that the first cycle of Ventspils Airport development was completed.
In 2003 a new passenger terminal of Ventspils Airport was built. General contractor for construction work was construction company Būve, Ltd. A total of 302 m² of space was built.
On 11 April 2008 Latvian national airline AirBaltic began the first regular service from the airport to Riga but ceased after few months due to low patronage.
In 2008, the airport served 7894 passengers, mainly due to the research carried out by the national airline airBaltic in 2008 on the potential passenger traffic and flight directions from Ventspils Airport. Flights to Ventspils – Riga – Ventspils were performed with airplanes Fokker 50 and ATR 42 from April 11, 2008 until September 30, 2008. During 2008, airBaltic performed 476 flights in total, carrying 6 607 passengers.
In 2009, runway surface renewal and waste water system repair works were carried out.
In 2011, Ventspils aerodrome was established as an aerodrome of national significance. On July 5, 2011, Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 536 “Regulations on the Aerodrome Status of the Limited Liability Company Ventspils Lidosta, the Aerodrome Territory and the Planned (Permitted) Use of the Territory” were adopted. The regulations determine the status for the aerodrome of Ventspils lidosta, Ltd, as well as the boundaries of the territory of the aerodrome (also for the territories necessary for further development) and the planned (authorized) use of this territory.