Helsinki Airport's position as a significant air
traffic hub in Europe will further strengthen when Finnair
commences direct flights to Phuket and Krabi in November and
The new flights will mean that the number of regularly
operated intercontinental destinations will be as high as 20. Of
these, 15 are in Asia, 4 are in North America, and 1 is in the
The total number of direct scheduled and charter
connections to global destinations is 130.
"The number of
frequent, regular scheduled connections is an important indicator
when assessing the international significance of an airport," said
Joni Sundelin, business director at Finavia.
Mr Sundelin, once-a-week charter flights are a vital part of
traffic. However, route flights, operated several times per week
and on a daily basis, without making a stop, build the foundation
for the long-term development of the airport as well as to the
well-functioning and reliable connections of Finns to destinations
all around the world.
At the moment, approximately 60
airlines operate at Helsinki Airport. The seven largest operators
are the route airlines Finnair, Flybe, Norwegian, SAS, Lufthansa
and KLM, and the holiday flight airline TUI Group. Every day,
about 500 aeroplanes depart from, or arrive at the airport.
"Last year, we passed the milestone of 15 million passengers. This
means that Helsinki Airport is currently wrestling in the league
of medium-sized international airports when measured both in the
number of destinations and passengers," said Ville Haapasaari,
airport director at Finavia.
Haapasaari's estimate is that
the number of passengers in about five or six years could be
almost 20 million. The majority of the growth comes from transfer
travel. Last year, more than 25% were transfer passengers.
"Helsinki Airport is Finland's hub for international traffic. 84%
of the airport's passengers fly abroad. This is also indicated in the passenger profile, as 45% of passengers are foreigners. This
change has taken place in ten years," Mr Haapasaari said.
The competition between airports over passengers, and especially
over traffic from Asia, is becoming increasingly intense. Finavia
has launched an extensive development scheme of about one billion
euros with the goal of retaining Finland's good flight connections
and improve the competitiveness of Helsinki Airport.
first phase of the development scheme, i.e. increasing the
check-in and security control capacity of Helsinki Airport, will
be completed before the summer holiday season. Improvement work at
network airports, worth about Ä35 million, will also be in
progress in the spring and summer.
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