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10k jobs linked to Helsinki Airport at risk, mayor warns

Mayor Ritva Viljanen also made an appeal for help from the Finnish state.

lentokoneita Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä
Aerial view of Helsinki Airport (file photo). Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Up to 10,000 workers with jobs linked to Helsinki Airport are at risk of unemployment, Vantaa city mayor Ritva Viljanen said on Friday, while urging the Finnish state to support the airport..

Last week, national airline Finnair announced plans to dismiss nearly 1,000 employees. Not long after that, airport ground services firm Swissport Finland said it also aimed to cut up to 700 jobs.

Viljanen noted that other firms at the airport, including Finavia, have also furloughed or permanently laid off staff.

She said the city has started work on creating a support package for jobless former Finnair workers, adding that the operation of the country's biggest airport was an issue of national significance that should receive support from the Finnish state.

The package aims to help the recently-jobless quickly find new places of employment and training opportunities with help from local TE (employment) offices and ELY Centres, regional economic development agencies.

The city also has plans to assemble a working group to consider the acute problems Finland's biggest and busiest airport is facing.

"The challenges of the airport are not only a problem in Vantaa, but due to the direct impact on employment and commerce, [they] also more broadly affect the Helsinki metropolitan area and Uusimaa region," Viljanen said.

"This is why the airport should receive proper support from the state. Our key message is that corona crisis recovery funding must be directed to where the problems are greatest and to places which will ensure that Finland recovers rapidly in the post-pandemic period," she said.

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