In accordance with the decision of the annual general meeting, airport maintenance and the provision of air navigation services at the Varkaus airport will cease by 31 December 2015. As a result, the airport will no longer be considered a part of the Finavia network of airports.
Until further arrangements are made, the airport will function as a general aviation airport without air traffic control. Finavia is prepared to discuss the ownership of the property in order to enter into an arrangement with the parties concerned.
Finavia's mission is to ensure that the growth of air traffic in Finland is supported by its network in the best possible way. The closure of the airport will provide room for the growth and development of the Kuopio Airport in the Saimaa Lake area.
- We understand this is a disappointing decision for the people and businesses of the surrounding area, but there is no other solution. It simply doesn’t make sense to continue operations at an airport that has been empty for a couple of years. We want to allocate the necessary resources to airports that are in demand. Varkaus is a modern airport, but also an unfortunate example – a beautiful and well-managed airport alone cannot attract commercial air traffic in the absence of economic growth. The airport is no longer competitive for short distance travel. For travel times of less than six hours, other modes of transport have been winning market share for some time. As a result of this development, commercial airlines are now focusing on providing transport services to and from regional centers, says Kari Savolainen, CEO of Finavia.
- In order to keep the Varkaus area accessible, there needs to be a focus on developing connecting services so that the region's businesses and households have easy access to a network of international airports. Finavia will be happy to work with interested parties and co-operate in developing services to meet this demand, says Savolainen.
Finavia has invested in the development of its connected network of airports, especially in those areas where there is a clear demand for commercial air travel. Between 2014 and 2016, Finavia’s investments in its connected network will total almost EUR 100 million.