The number of overflights controlled by the Finavia-operated Finnish Area Control Centre increased in January–July by 2.9% compared with the same period in 2013. In all, there were 19,246 overflights controlled by the Area Control Centre, while the corresponding number in January–July of the previous year was 17,744.
"After the decline last year, the number of overflights is again on the rise. The positive trend may indicate a slight pick-up in the global economy. However, when planning routes, airlines increasingly take into account each country's airspace service fees. Our goal is to provide cost-effective air navigation services in Finland to maintain competitive overflight fees for airlines, and thus support Finland's position in international air traffic. We do not want to scare aircraft away from Finland with higher fees, which is why we will also continue to improve cost-efficiency in the near future", says Raine Luojus, Finavia's head of air navigation.
Air navigation is showing the biggest losses in Finavia's business. In spite of the efficient, high-quality service production, the low traffic volumes in Finland mean that the financial equation for air navigation is a challenging one. Finavia covers the losses with internal subvention. The turnover of air navigation operations in 2013 decreased by 3.6% from the previous year and stood at €63.7 million.
"In addition to our business, the increase in the number of overflights also promotes the operating preconditions for Finnish air traffic and moderate development in the consumer prices of flight tickets. Overflights represent about a quarter of the revenues of the Finavia-maintained air navigation system in Finland. This year, overflights in Finnish airspace will create a combined turnover of about €17 million for Finavia", says Luojus.
Finnish airspace is good for overflights thanks to Finland's favourable location, as well as the short, direct routes permitted by using this airspace. Finnish airspace also has sufficient space for overflights. In order to increase the number of overflights, since December 2012 Finavia has been providing airlines with the opportunity to fly during the night through the most direct and optimized routes (Free Route Airspace) in Finnish airspace, which do not necessarily follow air corridors. Airlines have taken this opportunity, which can be seen in the increase in the number of overflights.
There will be major changes to the operating environment of air navigation as work on the formation of a joint European airspace proceeds. The Single European Sky (SES) rules will introduce strict performance requirements and will deepen cooperation between neighbouring states. In 2015, airspace use in Northern Europe will become even more effective through the free route airspace of the NEFAB countries (Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Norway), and Denmark.