A total of 376,353 people departed from Finland on international charter flights during January-May 2013. The five most popular destinations – Las Palmas, Tenerife, Antalya, Phuket, and Chania – accounted for more than half of all charter flight passengers. According to Finavia's passenger statistics, the number of departing passengers increased by 0.5 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year. “Charter flights” refers here to non-scheduled air traffic mostly consisting of flights commissioned by travel agencies.
Finns enticed by warmth
The Finns' beloved beach resorts dominated the list of the most popular holiday destinations in January-May. In Spain, the top favourite destinations were Las Palmas (68,025 passengers) and Tenerife (49,067). Other Spanish locations favoured by charter flight passengers included Palma de Mallorca (6,051) and Arrecife in Lanzarote (6,591). Each of these four destinations increased its popularity by at least 11 per cent.
The popularity of the number one destination in Turkey for Finns, Antalya, grew by 45 per cent, with 40,846 people travelling there on charter flights. The top holiday destination in Thailand, Phuket, managed to draw 24,470 holidaymakers from Finland. However, its popularity decreased sharply – by 32 per cent – compared to the previous year. In Greece, the main destinations were Chania (12,206 passengers, a decrease of 12% from the previous year) and Rhodes (10,202 passengers, a decrease of 26%). Egypt's waning popularity as a holiday destination was evident in both Hurghada (11,449 passengers, a decrease of 18%) and Sharm el-Sheikh (4,356 passengers, a decrease of 37%).
Spain and Turkey the favourite destinations during the early part of the year, Thailand's popularity on a downward slope
Among the countries that drew over 10,000 charter flight passengers, the popularity of Turkey and Spain increased the most. The most significant decrease occurred in charter flight traffic to Thailand.
Countries with the most charter flight passenger arrivals from Finland in January-May 2013
- Spain 140,287 (an increase of 10% from January-May 2012)
- Turkey 45,457 (an increase of 40%)
- Thailand 30,524 (a decrease of 33%)
- Greece 31,877 (a decrease of 14%)
- Egypt 17,968 (a decrease of 14%)
- Portugal 12,006 (a decrease of 15%)
As regards other charter flight destinations, countries that managed to increase their popularity included Russia (+17%), Israel (+21%), Italy (+14%), and Ukraine (+30%). In the Caribbean, Cuba (+46%), Barbados (+15%), and the Dominican Republic (+19%) experienced an increase in popularity. Countries that lost their popularity included Austria (-14%), India (-9%), Vietnam (-33%), and Malaysia (-51%).
Non-EU Europe and South America throw a challenge to EU destinations
Finns continued to mostly spend their holidays within the European Union, with over 60 per cent of the charter flight passengers – or 231,262 people – travelling to EU member states. The number increased slightly (by 2.5%) from the previous year. The number of passengers on charter flights to destinations in non-EU Europe increased by 31 per cent, totalling 62,838. The charter flight passenger volume to South America increased sharply as well – by over 25 per cent – with a total of 11,108 passengers. The number of passengers on charter flights to Asia decreased significantly – by 35 per cent – the main explanation being the considerable decrease in tourist traffic to Thailand. However, scheduled traffic to Asian destinations has continued to grow in 2013.
In addition to Helsinki Airport, several other airports in Finland serve as departure points for charter flights. Charter flights increase the demand for Finavia's airport services, which also supports other air traffic all over Finland.
A tip to holidaymakers: please arrive at the airport well in time!
Summer is one of the busiest seasons at the Helsinki Airport.