The construction project of Rovaniemi Airport began in 1939. In June the following year, Aero Oy began to operate a regular service from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. The flight took several hours as it included stop-overs in Tampere, Vaasa, Kokkola, Oulu and Kemi before landing in Rovaniemi. The plane then continued to Sodankylä and Petsamo.
The airport was established during the Second World War. Reconstruction of the airport, destroyed in the war, began in 1948, and regular scheduled flights started again.
“The airport’s development has been phenomenal. Passenger volumes have grown exponentially over the years,” says Johan Juujärvi, Rovaniemi Airport Manager of Finavia.
By passenger volume, Rovaniemi is one of Finland’s busiest airports, with frequent flights, particularly in the winter. In 2019, Rovaniemi Airport served over 660,000 passengers, and passenger volumes have been on the rise for the past decade.
“Lapland’s unique nature and exotic experiences attract visitors from all parts of the world. For example, Santa Claus, the Polar Circle and the Northern Lights are key attractions for Rovaniemi and Lapland as a whole. Rovaniemi Airport is known as the official home airport of Santa Claus, serving as the gateway for visitors to enjoy the unique experiences that Lapland offers,” Juujärvi says.
Finavia has developed and extended Rovaniemi Airport considerably in the past few years. In total, 5,000 square metres of new premises have been built, capacity increased and efficiency improved by adding new passport control, check-in and security control facilities and departure gates, and increasing the capacity of the baggage handling system. Services have also improved as new shops and restaurants have been opened in the airport.
The extension of Rovaniemi Airport was part of Finavia’s major EUR 55 million investment programme at Lapland’s airports. Rovaniemi Airport represented just under half of the total investment at EUR 25 million.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, only domestic flights are operated from Rovaniemi Airport at the moment.
“Under these exceptional circumstances, we look back at Rovaniemi Airport’s remarkable history with warmth, and we look forward to the future with great interest. I wish to thank all former and current Rovaniemi Airport employees for their professional and dedicated approach to the work, and their commitment to providing the best possible service to customers. Even though the airport is temporarily quiet, air travel is estimated to gradually pick up worldwide as the coronavirus situation slowly improves,” Juujärvi says.