Four airline companies have submitted tenders for the continued operation of flights to and from five regional airports across Finland, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has announced in a press release.
The deadline for the submission of bids for the state-subsidised procurement of scheduled services between the five regional airports and Helsinki Airport was on Monday 29 August.
Traficom had requested that companies bid to continue passenger connections to Kajaani, Kemi-Tornio, Kokkola-Pietarsaari, Joensuu and Jyväskylä airports, after the state agency imposed a public service obligation on the five domestic routes.
In March 2021, Finland's Parliament approved an allocation of 17 million euros to cover the costs of the public service obligations concerning these regional hubs.
The agency was unwilling to provide further details on the airlines that submitted tenders, but Traficom director Pipsa Eklund said that bids were received for all airports included in the tender.
Traficom aims to make a decision on the tender within the next week.
The agency had set a target of eight return flights a week from Joensuu and Kajaani airports until the end of July next year, while Jyväskylä airport would operate nine return flights a week, with the season ending by Midsummer.
The Kokkola-Pietarsaari and Kemi-Tornio routes, which will be operated as a triangle, would have 13 flights per week.
DAT A/S — formerly Danish Air Transport — which already operated services to Kajaani, confirmed to Yle it has submitted bids for the Kajaani and Joensuu routes.
EU: Replace flights under 500 km with rail
In late 2020, the European Commission pledged to make collective travel under 500 km "carbon neutral," with short flights to be replaced by rail links to cut emissions.
"We need to limit short-haul journeys by aviation and make sure that travel within Europe under 500 km becomes carbon neutral – meaning less flights, more trains and cleaner public transport," said European Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is overseeing the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law.
Jyväskylä lies just 270 km from Helsinki, while Joensuu is 440 km away and Kokkola 480 km.
Last year Greenpeace estimated that banning the EU’s busiest short-haul flights and shifting to existing train connections of under six hours would save 3.5 million tonnes of CO2e per year.