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The charm of a white Christmas draws travellers to the North - December is the busiest time of the year at Finavia’s Lapland airports

Article published
9.12.2019 at 09:00
During the last month of the year, there are almost 20 times more travellers moving through the most bustling airports in Finnish Lapland than throughout the slower summer months. The snow-covered landscape and Christmas lights that adorn the airports convey the holiday feeling that only the authentic North can offer.

December is by far the busiest month of the year in Finavia’s northern airports. In Rovaniemi, for example, the number of travellers goes up from 30 000 in June to more than 150 000 in December, according to Johan Juujärvi, Manager of Rovaniemi Airport.

In Ivalo Airport there are approximately 5 000 travelers during the month of May. Jarmo Pyhäjärvi, Manager of Ivalo Airport, says that the Christmas season brings more than 70 000 passengers to Ivalo Airport.

“In Kittilä, during the most active period in December, there are 3 000 travelers rushing through the airport within one hour. In comparison, Kittilä Airport has the same number during the entire month of June. During the quieter summer stretch there is one flight a day. Meanwhile, in December, there can be almost 30 flights daily, says Kimmo Liukkonen, Manager of Kittilä Airport.

Lapland Airports follow the rhythm of holiday seasons

At the beginning of 2018 Finavia launched a EUR 55 million investment programme in Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Kittilä Airports. Altogether Finavia’s investment in Lapland’s tourism industry will increase to nearly EUR 100 million in the next few years.

This investment will allow Finavia’s Lapland airports to serve two million passengers a year. Now when the renovations are completed, Ivalo, Kittilä and Rovaniemi Airports are more than ready for the fastest paced season of the year.

“Above all, Lapland airports are holiday airports. They follow the rhythm of peak travel seasons. For example, in Kittilä preparations for the upcoming Christmas period begins as early as spring. Resources are tripled,” says Liukkonen. He adds that during the busiest days, there are ten times more staff in the airport in order to facilitate the smoothest possible travel experience for customers.

Expanded Kittilä Airport welcomes travellers to Lapland

According to Pyhäjärvi, Lapland airports are full of life well into the spring. Nowadays the busy season begins a bit earlier compared to a couple of years ago.

Christmas charter flights to Lapland, to Enontekiö Airport, started on the 22nd of November.

In addition to charter flights, travellers come to Lapland on scheduled flights. In fact, the busy winter season has a significant impact on Lapland’s entire travel industry.

The charm of a white Christmas draws travellers to Lapland

At Ivalo, Rovaniemi and Kittilä Airports, twinkling Christmas lights illuminate Lapland’s polar nights, creating a warm holiday feeling.

“People are drawn to Lapland to experience a white Christmas. Nature is as beautiful as it gets when trees are covered in powder – snow makes Christmas authentic in Lapland,” says Pyhäjärvi.

British comprise the biggest group of travellers in December. The charm of a white Christmas draws people from all over Asia and Europe to experience a snowy Northern winter, so it’s typical to hear Christmas carols sung in dozens of languages across Lapland Airports.

“In Rovaniemi, the official airport of Santa Claus, there’s Christmas during summer, too. Travellers come to visit Santa all year around,” says Juujärvi.

In addition to Kittilä, Rovaniemi and Ivalo Airports, Finavia’s airports in the north include Enontekiö, Kemi-Tornio and Kuusamo Airports.

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