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A record-breaking year in 2018 — Helsinki Airport hit the 20 million mark and passenger volumes at Finavia’s airports increased by 10 per cent

Article published
11.1.2019 at 10:58
Landing aeroplane in the sky.
Finavia served nearly 25 million passengers at its airports in 2018. Helsinki Airport reached the 20 million passenger milestone for the first time. Lapland is having its third consecutive extremely successful winter, and passenger volumes grew by nearly nine per cent year-on-year.

The passenger volumes at Finavia’s airports grew by 10.1 per cent compared to 2017. This growth reflects a successful year in air traffic, the popularity of Finland and the increasingly important status of Helsinki Airport as a hub between Asia and Europe.

“We have again broken records at Helsinki Airport as well as our regional airports. We are doing the best we can to ensure the responsible and sustainable growth of air traffic. Helsinki Airport has been carbon neutral since 2017, and our airports in Lapland are also on the path towards zero emissions. Our aim is to make all of our airports carbon neutral by 2020,” says Joni Sundelin, Executive Director of Helsinki Airport and Finavia’s Senior Vice President in charge of Airline Sales & Accounts.

According to statistics, Helsinki Airport served a total of 20,848,838 passengers in 2018. The passenger volume at Finland’s largest airport increased by 10.4 per cent. The most significant increase (+10.7%) was attributable to international traffic.

The most popular European destinations for scheduled flights were Sweden, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Spain, in particular, grew in popularity, with an annual increase of more than 230,000 passengers (+19.2%). Russian traffic was up by nearly 120,000 passengers year-on-year (+30.5%). The total passenger volume for scheduled international flights grew by 10.8 per cent. The long-haul destinations with the largest passenger volumes were Japan, China, Thailand and the United States.

Finavia works hard to launch new routes and new airlines to operate flights to Finland. Several airlines increased the frequency of their flights substantially and improved their connections. Helsinki Airport also saw the arrival of new international airlines when FlyDubai launched daily scheduled flights from Dubai to Helsinki and Pobeda introduced a Moscow–Helsinki route.

The number of routes available through Finavia’s regional airports also increased in 2018. SAS launched direct connections between Tampere and Malaga as well as Oulu and Stockholm. Wizz Air began operating flights from Turku to Kaunas, while EasyJet launched a route between Rovaniemi and London Gatwick Airport.

A busy end to the year at Finavia’s northern airports

Behind Helsinki Airport, the largest increases in passenger volumes were again seen at Finavia’s airports in the north. The airports in Lapland served nearly 1.5 million passengers last year, which represented year-on-year growth of 8.6 per cent. More than 370,000 passengers travelled through Finavia’s airports in Lapland in December.

Compared to the previous year, passenger volumes increased by 11.2 per cent at Rovaniemi airport and by 18.8 per cent at Oulu Airport. Impressive growth rates were also seen in Ivalo and Kuusamo: the passenger volume of Ivalo Airport grew by 15.1 per cent, while Kuusamo Airport saw a remarkable 29.4 per cent increase.

Oulu Airport surpassed the one million passenger mark for the third time.

The development of the airports in Lapland is continuing. Finavia has a EUR 55 million investment programme underway at its airports in Lapland. Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Ivalo airports are being significantly expanded and more services are being introduced in response to the rapid growth in passenger numbers.

Continued strong growth is expected at the popular northern ski resorts in the first months of the new year. For example, chartered flights to Kuusamo Airport in January–March are expected to increase by as much as over 35 per cent, with the corresponding growth rate in Kittilä predicted to be 18 per cent.

A third of the departing passengers at Helsinki Airport were transfer passengers

In 2018, international air traffic represented 85.8 per cent of Helsinki Airport’s passengers, with domestic traffic accounting for the remaining 14.2 per cent. The number of international transfer passengers grew the most (+22.3%). In 2018, transfer passengers accounted for 35.5 per cent of departing passengers at Helsinki Airport. More than 3.7 million passengers continued their journey from Helsinki Airport by air.

“Helsinki Airport is a vital hub of air traffic in Northern Europe, especially for Asian passengers. This is reflected in the continued growth of the number of transfer passengers. As expected, we reached a major milestone by hitting the 20 million passenger mark, and we actually got very close to 21 million,” Sundelin says.

*Updated headline departing passengers.

Finavia’s airports are growing and developing

Finavia invests hundreds of millions of euros annually in developing its airports. Expansion work is currently underway at Helsinki Airport and the airports in Lapland. The expansion of Tampere Airport was completed in August 2018. Helsinki Airport is presently the subject of the largest development programme in Finavia’s history, which will prepare the airport to serve 30 million passengers per year.

The figures of the operational, freight and passenger volumes at Finavia airports are published on a monthly basis