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Savonlinna Airport celebrates its 50th anniversary

Article published
17.6.2024 at 12:07
Mustavalkoinen ilmakuva Savonlinnan lentoasemasta vuonna 1980.
People & Aviation
Savonlinna Airport celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday, 15 June 2024. To celebrate the anniversary, Finavia’s maintenance equipment, which is used to maintain the airport's runways and outdoor areas, was brought outside.

"Savonlinna Airport is one of Finavia’s airports in Eastern Finland. At the airport, there is always a sense of community and a desire to serve passengers and airlines. It’s great that the airport is already 50 years old and that we can celebrate this anniversary at the airport together with our employees and stakeholders," says Mauri Vihavainen, Airport Manager of Savonlinna Airport.

Savonlinna Airport is located about 15 kilometres from the city centre of Savonlinna, between Kuhajärvi and Pellosjärvi. The construction of Savonlinna Airport started to be considered as early as the 1940s, but the Government did not grant the actual building permit to the City of Savonlinna and the municipality of Sääminki until 1970.

The construction of the airport had not been fully completed when regular service to Savonlinna began in November 1973. The first aircraft to arrive at the airport was a 52-seat Convair Metropolitan propeller aircraft. The airport was officially inaugurated in June 1974 and became part of Finavia’s airport network in 1980.

Savonlinnan lentoaseman pääsisäänkäynti 2007.

Savonlinna Airport terminal and main entrance in 2007.

The airport’s revamped passenger terminal was inaugurated in spring 1995. During the construction of the extension, the terminal facilities were upgraded by separating the areas for departures and arrivals and streamlining baggage handling.

In 2022, Finavia invested EUR 3 million in paving the airport runway and taxiway and renovating the apron, which serves as a parking area for aircraft. At the same time, the runway lighting system was replaced with an energy-efficient LED lighting system.

From the very beginning, Savonlinna Airport has served the guests and audience of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, which has been held since 1912. In addition, especially in spring and autumn, several holiday flights depart from the airport to the warmth of the south, making it possible for people in the region to go on holiday from their own local airport. In summer, there are usually chartered flights to Savonlinna from the Netherlands and Germany. This year, there will be charter flights to the airport from Rotterdam between June and September and from Frankfurt between August and September.

An airport community of all-rounders offers a variety of work tasks

Almost all Finavia employees at Savonlinna Airport are all-rounders. This means that every employee is involved in a wide range of work tasks, both in the terminal and in the outdoor areas of the airport. In addition to all-rounders, in-depth expertise is also required, as maintaining and developing the airport infrastructure requires very specialist expertise and understanding.

One of Finavia’s all-rounders is Lauri Lemettinen, Savonlinna Airport's Maintenance Manager, who started working at the airport in 2008. He first started working at Finavia as a trainee when he was studying for a further vocational qualification in Airport Services. After graduation, he began working as a maintenance all-rounder, after which his career at Finavia continued in the roles of shift manager and manager.

"The best thing about Savonlinna Airport is definitely the work community and the wide variety of tasks. We are a group who can handle things like security control, emergency services and maintenance. When you come to work here, you end up becoming an all-rounder with a wide range of tasks. Of course, this also requires employees to be able to learn new things and be prepared to respond to new and changing situations," Lauri says.

Pasi Ahokas, who started working at Finavia in 2003, also agrees with the praise for the good and close work community and the wide variety of tasks. Having previously worked in the automotive industry, Pasi started working in maintenance at Savonlinna Airport. His competence and in-depth understanding of the airport’s operations have developed over the years, and today Pasi works as a shift supervisor.

"The most important thing is to carefully maintain the airport so that it serves smooth and safe air traffic. Of course, we also make improvements to the airport. We listen to the personnel's development ideas so that we can develop our ways of working and operations in a financially responsible way," Pasi says.

Learn more about the history of Finavia and its airports here.

Main image: Savonlinna Airport photographed from the air in 1980.