More International Flights From Finland in Spring 2004
The Finnish air traffic market took an historic turn in 2003 when it came to new airlines and routes. The beginning of this year, too, will see more new airlines coming up, while existing firms will also be offering new connections. Besides the regular scheduled traffic, there will be a record number of direct flights from Europe to the holiday resorts of Lapland during the winter tourist season. Meanwhile, Blue1 will add competition to the domestic market when it starts flying between Helsinki-Oulu from the beginning of April.
The new operators last year were the domestic carriers Air Finland, the now defunct Flying Finn, FinnComm Airlines and Söder Airlines. The new foreign airlines were Ryanair at Tampere, DUO on the Helsinki–Birmingham route and V Bird on the Helsinki–Dusseldorf route. The new firms were also joined by new routes from the traditional airlines. Finnair continued its Asian growth strategy by introducing flights to Osaka and Shanghai. Blue1 started a new route to Geneva and challenged Finnair and Lufthansa for the Dusseldorf run.
Söder Airlines, a newcomer from Tampere, began flights from Tampere to Oulu and to the Lappish ski resorts of Kittilä and Ivalo in January. Söder will introduce Tampere – Tallinn flights from mid-March and begin flying to Vilna, Riga and Palanga in May. Air Finland will add new destinations to its summer 2004 arsenal, including Venice and Budapest in addition to its last summer’s routes to Malaga, Nice and Barcelona.
Budget airline Ryanair began flying between Tampere–Stockholm/Skavsta in April 2003, but the route did not prove sufficiently profitable and it was terminated in January 2004. Ryanair began flights to London in October and to Frankfurt in January and these have proven popular. Tampere’s international traffic has mushroomed at a record rate thanks to the new Ryanair routes (passenger numbers increased by 154% for January - February).
More budget airlines will be appearing this spring. The German firm Germanwings will fly four times a week between Cologne and Helsinki from the end of March, by Airbus 319. Swedish airline FlyMe started flying from Stockholm/Arlanda to Helsinki at the beginning of March and will raise the number to four flights a day by the end of March.
In addition, a number of established airlines will increase their routes and flight frequencies. For the summer season, Icelandair will operate B757 flights between Helsinki – Reykjavik three times a week. After a winter break, Finnair begin flying to Dublin in March. Finnair will also add a third daily flight to Hamburg, Riga and Zurich and will increase flights to its Asian destinations of Beijing, Shanghai and Osaka. Blue1 opened new routes from Helsinki to Hamburg and Berlin in direct competition with Finnair.
In April 2004 there will be as many as 29 airlines operating regular passenger flights in Finland. International flights are heavily concentrated in Helsinki, which has direct connections to 52 destinations abroad as well as dozens of charter connections to holiday destinations. There are ten international routes in total from Finland’s other airports.
According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG) Finnair is the dominant airline in terms of international flights, with 466 departures a week in all. Blue1 has 324 departures a week; SAS, 64 a week and Lufthansa, 54 a week. Besides the number of flights, an aircraft’s capacity, i.e. its size, also significantly affects air transport capacity. The size of aircraft on international routes from Finland ranges from the 49 seat Saab2000 aeroplane to the almost 300 seat MD11.
For more information:
Business Analyst Timo Järvelä, +358 9 8277 2143