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Humans of Lapland Airports: restaurant manager Taija Nilivaara

Article published
17.5.2019 at 09:00
Taija Nilivaara
People & Aviation Travel
Taija Nilivaara runs three cafes at the newly expanded Kittilä Airport.

“I’m from Kittilä, so I’ve witnessed the growth of both the tourism sector and the airport. I started working here as restaurant manager in 2002.

We have three Lapland Hotels cafes at the airport. Each cafe also has a shop that offers gifts and souvenirs from Lapland. There is a cafe at the entrance hall, another in the departures hall and the newest is in the non-Schengen expansion that opened last November, right before the busy Christmas season.

In Lapland, the highest season is in December, during which we are equally busy from Monday to Sunday. In past years, there was a clear slowdown after Christmas, but now we get a steady flow of tourists until April. The weekends are the busiest.

The expansion of Kittilä Airport is a great thing, and has been long-awaited. The number of flights from Europe has increased, and it feels like it gets busier every year.

On Sunday mornings, it’s quiet in town, but when you arrive at the airport, it’s already teeming with life. Many locals are astonished by the scale of it all when they start working here. We also get private airplanes here and provide catering for them.

In our cafes, customers can have a taste of both local treats and international flavours. We serve a lot of homemade products, and our menu has evolved throughout the years to meet the wishes of our customers, but we follow trends as well, of course. We have introduced ramen soups and wok dishes to the menu, as well as more vegetarian meals due to popular demand.

Depending on the season, we have up to 20 people working in our cafes, and we start recruiting people for winter season already in the summer. Many of our seasonal employees, both locals and non-locals, are happy to return the following season.

Even if we are very busy for a large part of the year, I really like the variety in this work. You get to see people from all over the world. As a local, born and raised in Kittilä, the success story of tourism here is something that makes me very proud.”

Read more about Finavia's investment in Lapland's tourism.