Air traffic passenger volumes show clear decline in first quarter - transit traffic rising

Reports
Published
9.4.2013 - 11:14
Press release
In the first quarter of 2013, the passenger volumes of Finavia airports declined by 7.2% compared to the same period in the previous year. International transit traffic at Helsinki Airport increased by 2.5%. Domestic air travel declined rapidly, by 17.7% from the peak level of the first quarter of 2012.

In the first quarter, a total of 4,445,562 passengers used Finavia airports (4,789,575 passengers 1–3/2012). The passenger volume declined by 7.2% compared to January–March 2012. The number of commercial aviation landings decreased by 9.7%, which means higher occupancy rates of planes. Helsinki Airport's international transit traffic still rising A total of 3,463,790 people (3,603,288) passed through Helsinki Airport in January–March, which is 3.9% less than in the same period in 2012. International transit traffic, which is strategically important to Finavia, still developed favourably in the early part of the year and increased by 2.5%. However, regarding passenger volume, Helsinki Airport's Asian traffic declined by 3.7% compared to the first quarter of the previous year. “We are happy that we have retained our position in transit travel in the challenging market situation. We are confident that transit traffic and Asian passenger volumes will remain at a good level in 2013, which is supported by the introduction of new direct connections to Asia,” says Joni Sundelin, director responsible for Finavia's airport network, marketing and sales. Domestic passenger volumes in rapid decline In the first part of the year, the number of passengers on domestic flights stood at 1,390,175, whereas the number in the year before that was 1,689,681. This means that the number of passengers in the first quarter was 17.7% lower than before. "The decline of almost 300,000 passengers is partly explained by the early part of 2012 being a period of exceptionally strong growth in domestic air traffic," says Sundelin. “Domestic passenger volumes have declined at the annual level since spring 2012, which has been caused, on the one hand, by the selection of routes and connections having declined from the record-high level, and on the other hand, by a decline in demand. In the intense competition, airlines are being particularly quick to react to the decline in demand,” says Sundelin. Regarding provincial airports, passenger volumes only increased in Ivalo (+8.4%) and Rovaniemi (+4.4%) in the early part of the year. Compared to the first quarter of 2012, passenger volumes declined the most rapidly at Lappeenranta (-55.6%), Pori (41.7%), Oulu (29.8%) and Jyväskylä airport (-29.1%). The rapid variation in air travel is indicated by, for example, the fact that the volume of passengers in Oulu increased by as much as 41% from the comparison period in the first quarter of 2012. International air traffic almost at the level of the previous year The passenger volume of Finavia airports' international air traffic declined by 1.4% in January–March compared to the previous year, and stood at 3,055,387. The passenger volumes increased in traffic to North and South America, European countries outside the EU, and the Middle East. Passenger volumes to Asia declined by 4.7% compared to the same period in the previous year. The volume of passengers to China (+17.4%), Hong Kong (+17.2%) and India (+9.2%) increased, whereas the volume to Singapore (-15.8%), Thailand (-14.3%) and Japan (-2.2%) declined. The outlook continues to be challenging “The volume of domestic passengers, in particular, is expected to continue to decline in the early part of the year compared to the previous year, but our estimate is that the decline will not be as rapid at the annual level when the end of the year draws near. The selection of flights, particularly to Europe, will increase in the early part of the year, and we also estimate that the domestic flight selection will strengthen to some extent, which will promote the development of air traffic during the year. This year, as a company, we will continue to develop Finavia further as a service company and to operate as cost-effectively as possible," says Sundelin. Finavia actively encourages airlines to introduce new routes at its airports by providing new routes with incentives, for example. Finavia publishes monthly traffic statistics, which are available at http://www.finavia.fi/about_finavia/trafficstatistics/. In this press release, all percentages of change describe the development in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012.