Virpi Kuismin, who is originally from Rovaniemi, came to Ivalo 13 years ago to do seasonal work. Kuismin has worked for Finavia as Ivalo Airport’s Service Manager since 2016.
“I don’t even notice the time passing when each workday is different. I can never say enough good things about our staff. Our strong team spirit is visible in everything we do, all the way to our customers. My absolute favourite place at the airport is our shared break room, where we have our meetings, catch up with each other and assign tasks. All work that is visible to the outside world starts in that room,” says Kuismin.
Ivalo Airport serves passengers also during the pandemic, even though passenger volumes are smaller than what the airport is used to. This quieter period is being used to develop services. A new arrivals hall was completed at the airport last year.
“We are thinking about how we could make our services and operations even better and smoother once the airport, hopefully, starts getting busier again. Naturally, we miss the hustle and bustle and the winter season. We are waiting for the new arrivals hall to reach its potential once it fills up with customers.”
Ivalo Airport is also participating in a pilot project that involves programming a tractor that runs on low-emission biofuel to clean runways independently.
Right now, Finnair operates eight weekly flights to Ivalo.
“We continue to serve passengers here at Ivalo Airport, as we have always done, with a big heart and a bright smile. We are ready to serve each and every passenger. Our restaurants and shops are always open when flights are departing or arriving,” says Kuismin.
Virpi’s Ivalo travel tips
Enjoy the natural beauty
“I have to mention Lake Inari. It’s a stunning and majestic sight. The lake is gorgeous all year round, both during the polar nights and in the midnight sun. It also looks great when admired from a boat on the lake in the summer or seen from the top of a fell. It didn’t earn its reputation for nothing.
And, of course, there are the fells that let you see far into the distance when you’re standing at the top and the sky is clear: Pyhä-Nattanen, Otsamo, Kiilopää and Kaunispää, to name just a few. However, there are also many slightly less well-known fells that can be climbed and are worth seeing.”
Go on a hike
“My favourite places in the municipality of Inari are the fells Kiilopää and Tuulispää as well as Lake Tuulisjärvi. These are the places where I first experienced the breathtaking landscapes of this municipality and where I always return to admire the view. Sledding down the slopes of Kiilopää in winter is incredible fun, even as an adult.”
“There is endless terrain and trails for mountain biking as well as marked routes, and a seemingly endless network of forest roads and tracks that can lead you to beautiful forest lakes and ravines. Ski Saariselkä is an ideal ski resort for families with young children: everything is close by and easy to find, and the resort provides fantastic service. Fishing, berry picking and hunting – time will fly when you’re filling your freezer from pure nature. Local food at its best.”
Enjoy delicious food
“Laanilan kievari is a restaurant with a great atmosphere, fantastic service and local flavours. The restaurant’s brunches are worth experiencing. The famous and highly praised Inarin Kultahovi is also worth every bit of praise it has received, and I definitely recommend trying it out and enjoying the experience. Kaunispään Huippu offers a great view in addition to good food.”
Enjoy summer in Lapland
“River Ivalo has endless clean, beautiful and big sandy beaches. You can find them here and there along the river. Of course, it may not be warm enough every summer to enjoy the beach that many times. Maybe that is why the beaches are even more delightful when you get to enjoy them.”
Learn about local history
“For those interested in history, there are places to visit, such as the many prison camps in the area and Raja-Jooseppi’s field.”
Read more about Lapland:
The Airport Manager shares their favourites: The best places in Rovaniemi
The hidden treasures of Kittilä
Lake Inari: Harri Tarvainen / Visit Finland
Hikers: Kirsi Ukkonen / Metsähallitus / Lapin materiaalipankki
Ivalo Airport: Finavia / Pasi Salminen
Saariselkä-pictures: Rob Smith/Visit Finland