airBaltic and Riga Airport have signed a land reservation agreement for building a new Baltic cargo hub.

The new facility will be the largest dedicated air cargo handling hanger in the region.

Martin Gauss, chief executive of airBaltic, said: “For years airBaltic Cargo has provided essential mail and cargo shipments to and from Latvia, using the existing hangar.

“However, the hangar will be demolished to make room for the Rail Baltica track.

“The new Baltic Cargo Hub will enable the company to handle more than 30 000 tonnes of cargo each year.”

airBaltic was the winner of a tender for the rent of land and construction of multimodal logistics centre issued by Riga Airport in November.

According to initial plans, the planned size of the Baltic Cargo Hub is 6000 metres square.

It is currently planned to begin construction in late 2022 and finish the hangar by early 2024.

The project will be financed through banks and operated by Baltijas Kravu centrs SIA – cargo handling subsidiary of airBaltic.

Chairperson of the board of Riga Airport, Laila Odiņa, said: “I am pleased that we will be able to work with the national airline in the development of the airport’s air cargo centre RIX Cargo City.

“The volume of belly cargo forms a significant part of cargo carriage at Riga Airport, and airBaltic is the largest carrier of this type of cargo.

“The construction of a new cargo handling centre will help increase the volume of cargo handled at Riga Airport and will benefit both the Airport and airBaltic.”