"In July, we saw a significant increase in taxi journeys from the airport in comparison to July last year (+7.03%). There were 55,000 taxi departures last month, which is an all-time record for July. The numbers exclude the pre-booked taxis which mounted up to around 800 departures", says Finavia Director Jukka Isomäki who is responsible for the ground traffic at Helsinki Airport.
If the growth continues at the same rate, the airport’s numbers will reach an all-time high this year. The milestone of a million taxi journeys could be reached in December.
Traditionally, August is the least busy month for taxi traffic at the airport. In general, there are approximately 70,000–85,000 taxi departures during the other months of the year.
Finavia and Helsinki Airport were the first in Finland to implement the changes brought by the new transport services legislation that came into effect on the first of July. The new arrangements aimed to ensure the high quality of services and availability of taxis in the new situation where taxi traffic was deregulated.
Before implementing the arrangements required by the new law, Finavia studied how deregulation of taxi sector has affected passenger services at other airports. For example, price negotiations between taxi drivers and passengers have made the waiting times longer and caused problems in taxi availability.
"We wanted that the passengers at Helsinki Airport can choose a taxi whose price information is visible in advance. In this way, we could avoid the slow negotiation process between the driver and the passenger", Isomäki states.
The tendering of taxi companies also considered the number of their vehicles and ability to offer services at any hour of the day, as well as the emission levels of the vehicles and language skills of the drivers.
For example, Stockholm Airport has eight taxi lanes for the customer to choose from. Helsinki Airport has half of that, four lanes. Three lanes are reserved for the official taxi companies of the airport, which have won a tender, and one lane is for all the other taxis. In addition, the taxi rank has a reserved area for pre-booked taxis.
In previous years the airport has struggled to offer a sufficient number of taxis especially during night time. The invitation to tender set a criteria for taxi companies that they shall be able to provide services at any time of the day, including the peak hours. The new legislation no longer obliges taxi companies to operate at night time.
Finavia has increased and improved guidance for taxi services at Helsinki Airport based on the customer feedback from July. The new weather shelters for the taxi rank are ready today. However, they are only temporary as the road arrangements will change soon.
"The expansion of Terminal 2 will begin at the turn of the year at the latest. The airport will have a new entrance and new departures and arrivals halls. During the construction works, there will be significant changes in bus and parking arrangements and inconveniences cannot be avoided", reveals Isomäki about the coming month