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Passenger volume at Finnish airports still down by nearly 80%

Finnish airports seem to be recovering more slowly than others in Europe, partly due to tougher travel restrictions.

Kasvomaskiin pukeutuneita matkustajia Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
Passenger numbers were down sharply at Helsinki Airport amid fluctuating travel restrictions (file photo). Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The number of passengers travelling through Finnish airports fell by 78.9 percent in the first half of this year compared to the January-June period of 2020, airport operator Finavia said on Wednesday. The pandemic began to affect Finland about midway through that period last year.

In the first six months of this year, just over one million passengers went through Finland's airports. The vast majority of those – some 800,000 – passed by way of Helsinki Airport. About 8.4 percent of these were transfer passengers on international flights, who did not leave the airport.

Its passenger volume fell by slightly more than the national average from January to June, down by 79.9 percent year-on-year.

The declines were broadly in line with those of national flag carrier Finnair, which saw its number of passengers fall by 80 percent in the first half of this year.

Slower recovery than elsewhere in Europe

Finnish airports seem to be recovering more slowly than others in Europe, partly due to tougher travel restrictions.

According to ACI Europe, passenger numbers at European airports during the first half of this year were on average 45 percent lower than in 2020 and 79 percent lower than in 2019.

Fewer than a third of a million passengers travelled through Finnish regional airports in January–June 2021, a decline of more than 75 percent.

During this period, the state carried out competitive tendering for scheduled flights to five domestic destinations. This resulted in new airlines beginning scheduled flights from Helsinki to Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kokkola-Pietarsaari, Kemi-Tornio and Kajaani in May.

Finavia invests in Helsinki Airport, health and environment

Finavia said its own revenues fell significantly compared to the same period of last year. January-June revenues sank by 53.4 percent to 47.6 million euros.

This year, Finavia decided to focus on accelerating the recovery of its business, safeguarding its financial position and ensuring the well-being and future of its staff. It also pledged to invest more toward mitigating climate change.

Known until 15 years ago as the Civil Aviation Administration, the company continued its upgrading of Helsinki Airport, a project costing over a billion euros in total.

This included work on a new main entrance of Terminal 2, new arrival and departure halls and a travel centre linking to other modes of transport. Improvements on the air traffic side included repaving of taxiways and an upgrade of the stormwater sewer system. A seven-million-euro investment in environmental protection and smoother airport traffic is to be wrapped up this autumn.

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