“The competition in air traffic has intensified considerably over the last few years. This also poses a major challenge to actors like Finavia who provide services for air traffic. Our goal is to maintain the efficiency of the Finnish airspace while also ensuring the future competitiveness and safety of the air navigation services we provide for airlines. The investment now completed is a key element in achieving this goal,” says Raine Luojus, Senior Vice President responsible for Finavia’s Air Navigation Business. The underlying factors behind the air navigation system reform are the targets set by the EU where the Member States are obligated to improve the efficiency and uniformity of their air navigation services. Pan-European performance targets have been set for air navigation service providers as part of the Single European Sky regulation. Finavia also has to improve the cost-efficiency of its air navigation services even though in European comparison, Finavia’s air navigation services are already very efficient compared to the European average. “The airspaces of different countries are in the process of becoming unified in the next few years, and the competition between providers of air navigation services will intensify. This will also require Finavia to constantly make investments, improve its efficiency and demonstrate an ability to make reforms in order for Finland to meet the EU’s requirements. When Finavia succeeds in this, it may have an increasingly important role in the liberalising market of European air navigation services, because our competence and technical systems are of a high standard,” Luojus says.
The most extensive uniform air traffic control system
The new air traffic control system is the most extensive uniform TopSky air traffic control system in Europe, with all Finavia’s airports connected to it, together with the Tampere area control which coordinates the use of Finland's entire airspace. By introducing the system, Finavia harmonises and enhances the operative methods and the functionality of technical maintenance. “The uniform system will improve the efficiency of air traffic in Finland, among other things by shortening flight times. The first experience of the new system has been encouraging in this respect. Even minor reductions in the lengths of flight routes bring significant savings to airlines through reduced fuel costs and thus affect the prices of tickets,” Luojus says.
New facilities for air traffic control at Helsinki Airport
As part of the work for reforming Finavia’s air navigation system, the approach control office at Helsinki Airport has been totally reconditioned and now offers ergonomic and modern facilities. The facilities of approach control were carefully designed and constructed with personnel working around the clock in mind. The new facilities were commissioned in March 2013. The facilities of aerodrome control located in the air traffic control tower of Helsinki Airport were modernised earlier. In Finland, the provision of air navigation services is currently a loss-making business. In spite of the efficient service production of high quality, the small traffic volumes mean that the financial equation of air navigation is a challenging one. In practice, Finavia Corporation uses the revenues of services sold to air travellers at the airports to cover the losses incurred by air navigation services. In 2012, Finavia’s air navigation services served about 310,000 flights in Finland.