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Ryanair cutting flights to Finland over plane shortage

No-frills airline Ryanair is to reduce flights to and from Finland this winter as the company shifts planes and staff to new hubs in southern Europe. Tampere will be the hardest-hit Ryanair location, retaining only flights to Bremen and London after the changes. The firm’s other Finnish hub, Lappeenranta, will keep more of its flights.

Ryanairin lentokone lentokentällä.
Image: Yle

This winter Ryanair will not be offering so many flights from Finland as it has over the holiday season. In September there will be some 40,446 seats available on flights to and from Finland, but by December that will drop to 17,010 seats.

That’s because the airline, faced with a shortage of planes, is moving its aircraft south to serve Mediterranean hubs.

“At this moment we don’t have enough planes to increase our passenger numbers in the Nordic countries,” said Ryanair’s sales and marketing manager in the Nordic and Baltic region, Elina Hakkarainen.

Ryanair has ordered 180 new planes which will be delivered between this autumn and 2019. The first of the new batch will serve British and Mediterranean routes, with some due to arrive in the Nordic region in 2016 according to Hakkarainen.

This year around 340,000 passengers are expected to travel on the Irish carrier’s Finnish routes, which operate at Tampere and Lappeenranta airports. The Tampere routes have performed poorly, with passenger numbers dropping by 15 percent this year. During the traditionally busy holiday season, numbers dropped by a fifth.

In Lappeenranta in south-east Finland, however, passenger numbers are on the up thanks to a steady stream of Russians crossing the border for cheap flights to Europe they can’t access from their home country.

The company has been in discussions to start flying from Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, but that has been delayed several times due to differences over the terms and conditions, and the cost, of using that airport.

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