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Helsinki and Lapland led Finavia's airport network to a new passenger record

Press release
Article published
11.1.2017 at 10:30
Passenger volumes at Finavia's airports reached an all-time high in 2016. Both domestic traffic and international air travel showed growth.

A total of 20,786,846 passengers (20,083,297 in 2015) travelled through Finavia's airports in 2016, showing an increase of 3.5% compared to the previous year. Of all passengers, 26% took domestic flights and 74% international flights.

A new passenger record was reached in Helsinki (17.2 million) and Rovaniemi (490,000).

In the fourth quarter of 2016, there were a total of 5,256,244 passengers (5,057,573 passengers in October–December 2015) at all airports combined. The volume increased by 3.9% compared to October–December 2015.

The most popular European destinations from Finland were Stockholm, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Berlin, Oslo and Riga. The top 10 long-distance destinations were Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, New York, Shanghai, Osaka, Beijing, Singapore and Nagoya.

The passenger volume flying to the US increased by a whopping 23.4%. Last year, a total of 71,117 passengers (28,639 in 2015) flew on the Helsinki–Miami route, showing an increase of 148.3% from the year before. The passenger volume flying to Chicago increased by 86.8% (50,107 passengers).

International air travel increased heavily towards the end of the year

The passenger volume in international air traffic increased by 3.6% in 2016, amounting to 15.4 million (14.9).

The passenger volume at Helsinki Airport increased by 4.6% from 2015 to 17.2 (16.4) million at the end of December 2016. In other words, Helsinki Airport had as many new passengers as the population of Helsinki and Jyväskylä combined. The airport's passenger volume grew particularly in December when the volume increased by as much as 8.5%.

In October–December, 4.2 million passengers flew via Helsinki Airport, showing an increase of 5.7% compared to the same period in 2015.

In 2016, the volume of international passengers at Helsinki Airport increased by 4.9%, and domestic travel showed a growth of 3.4%. Most of the growth in domestic travel is attributable to passengers switching to routes to Lapland from international flights. More and more Chinese tourists select Finland as their destination.

All in all, the number of transit passengers at Helsinki Airport increased to 2.7 million (2.6). The proportion of Chinese passengers grew the most by 7.5%. In total, travel from Asia to Finland showed a growth of 4.7%.

“The demand for air traffic is still growing strong, and we are powerfully involved in this growth, which can be seen in the record-breaking passenger volumes. To us, an important step in strengthening our position was the landing of Qatar Airways in Finland in autumn. The magic of Lapland is also reflected in these figures and, what is more, Chinese passengers are more often selecting Finland as their destination,” says Joni Sundelin, senior vice president at Finavia.

Domestic passenger volumes showing a growth as a result of international transit traffic

In 2016, the passenger volume in domestic traffic increased by 3.3% to 5.4 million (5.2). In the fourth quarter, domestic passenger volumes improved by 1.2% compared to the corresponding period in 2015.

The attraction of Lapland strengthened even further, and passenger volumes at large tourist airports (Ivalo, Kuusamo, Rovaniemi and Kittilä) showed good growth for the second year in succession, reaching a record high of 1,085,464 (1,006,958) passengers. The volume of international passengers flying to Lapland increased by more than 22.7% (276,165 passengers).

“The strongest growth in domestic air travel comes from passengers switching to routes to Lapland from international flights. Furthermore, direct flights from Europe to Lapland raised the attraction and passenger volume of the region to a whole new level. At the same time, the busiest airports located in growth centres gained new passengers. This year, domestic travel showed good growth in Oulu and Vaasa. There is high demand for air travel, especially over longer distances, whereas the improved competitiveness of other means of travel is often reflected in the passenger volumes of airports over shorter distances,” Sundelin says.

The number of commercial aviation landings continued its decrease to 115,263 operations last year, which is 2.1% lower than in 2015. The passenger volume has not decreased in proportion to the number of landed aircraft, which means that air traffic is continuously becoming more effective than before due to high aircraft occupancy rates and larger aircraft sizes.

Statistics on air traffic in 2016