"Together with our staff and other stakeholders, we have reviewed several options for achieving savings in our air navigation business, which is showing extensive losses. However, we have not found any alternatives to launching area control operations in Vantaa because that will substantially cut our costs in the near future in many ways. The least disruptive way of implementing the operating method update, we have decided to launch operations in Vantaa gradually," says Raine Luojus, Air Navigation Director at Finavia.
On 12 August 2013, Finavia communicated that it has concluded negotiations concerning the possible relocating of area control and related support functions. The outcome is that Finavia will produce area air traffic control services in both Vantaa and Tampere, starting in 2015. In 2018, it will be assessed whether it is possible to continue area air traffic control in two locations. If not, Tampere area air traffic control will be discontinued during 2018.
During the negotiations, no air controllers have been subject to the possibility of employment termination. Regarding air traffic control support tasks, the decisions will be made as part of the briefing service negotiations, on which Finavia will make the final decisions in autumn 2013.
The EU requires that the air navigation service providers of different countries deepen their cooperation in the production of support services. Related to this, Finland is investigating different ways of cooperation in the North European Functional Airspace Block set up with Norway, Estonia and Latvia.
Safety reviews are the starting point for everything
Finavia has implemented safety reviews on the launch of area air traffic control functions in Vantaa. The reviews did not find any air safety hazards.
Every year, Finavia implements hundreds of change approvals and safety reviews with a potential impact on air safety. The changes are ultimately approved by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency.
Establishing area air traffic control in Vantaa will deepen the cooperation between area air traffic control and Helsinki Airport's air traffic control, which will have a positive impact on the quality of operations.
The transition in air traffic is forcing Finavia to update the operating methods of air navigation
Finavia will cover the losses in the air navigation business with the profit from Helsinki Airport.
Through the update of air navigation operating methods, Finland will have better chances of finding success in competing for international air traffic. This is important because air travel via Finland brings new, permanent jobs to Finland. It is estimated that about 1,000 new jobs are created in Finland for every million passengers.
"The fact that flight ticket prices have decreased on many routes, and the ever tighter competition in the sector, has meant that airlines have started to look for cost savings throughout their service chain. In addition, the EU has a strong goal of cutting air space management costs in Europe. Finavia's air navigation is showing substantial losses every year. It is absolutely necessary to update the operating methods so that the cost level of air navigation services will not decrease the competitiveness of Finland's air traffic now that we are really investing in Finland's strong position in international transit traffic," says Luojus.