“Having started to increase in July, passenger volumes turned towards a substantial decline in mid-August due to new strict travel restrictions. We estimate that the situation in the autumn will be bleaker than in August. Flights that are important to the Finnish economy – including export promotion, other business travel and international tourism – are at a standstill. There are hardly any connections available,” says Finavia’s CEO Kimmo Mäki.
The passenger volume of Helsinki Airport declined by 87 per cent year-on-year in August. Transfer travel, which has previously supported growth, has stopped almost entirely (-93%). Cargo volumes at Helsinki Airport also fell in August, by 54 per cent.
The total number of passengers at all of Finavia’s airports in August was 328,600, a decrease of 85% compared to the corresponding month last year. The total passenger volume for the January–August period was 5,621,600, down 68% from the previous year. The decrease from the January–August period last year amounted to nearly 12 million passengers (2019: 17,381,100 passengers).
Mäki is concerned that, should the coronavirus pandemic be prolonged, Finland is at risk of losing the strong position Helsinki Airport has built as a transfer airport.
“That is something we cannot afford. When passenger volumes are this low, Finland loses revenue and jobs. Air travel has significant cascade effects on other sectors of the economy, including tourism, services and construction.
The recovery of air traffic in Finland lags behind the rest of Europe due to the strict travel restrictions. Passenger volumes declined by 65 per cent on average in Europe in August.
“Travel with fewer restrictions than at present could be possible during the coronavirus pandemic, and it could be allowed – subject to certain limitations – while taking the risks into account and operating responsibly,” Mäki says.
Information on air traffic
- Travel employs more than 140,000 people in Finland.
- Some 20,000 people work at Helsinki Airport, employed by about 1,500 different companies.
- Tourism and air traffic account for 2.7% of Finland’s GDP. The travel demand in Finland amounts to approximately EUR 16 billion, which is higher than the demand in the forest industry.
- The passenger volumes of Finavia’s airports declined by nearly 12 million passengers in January–August compared to the previous year.
- In January, there were 200 direct connections from Finland to destinations around the world. In September, the number of destinations is about 40.
- Finavia’s investment programme focused on developing Helsinki Airport has had an employment effect of approximately 15,500 person-work-years to date.
Finavia’s air traffic statistics are published on the Finavia website every month.
The picture of the development of air traffic is available here.