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NEWS Last modified on July 12, 2013

International routes cushion Finavia’s traffic plunge

Finavia, the Finnish airport operator, saw its traffic slip in January–June to 9.4 million, down from 9.8 million in the first half of 2012.

Domestic routes were hit hardest, with traffic down 14.6% as routes launched last year registered disappointing figures.

In November, SAS’s offshoot Blue1 also withdrew from marketing its own flights to become a service provider for its parent.

Yet Finavia expects to match last year in the second half as international flights offset the domestic plunge, said Joni Sundelin, director of Airport Networks, Marketing and Sales at Finavia. 

“Due to the positive development of transit traffic and international traffic, we estimate that as a whole the passenger volume at Finavia's airports in the latter part of the year will remain at the same level as the corresponding period of time in 2012,” he said.

In the first half, traffic to China (up 15.8%) led growth on intercontinental routes, followed by India (9.6%) and Hong Kong (9.0%), although demand on Thailand routes fell 12.5%.

In Europe, traffic was up 24.9% to Turkey, 14.4% to France and 9.2% to Spain.

Overall, international traffic for charter and scheduled flights over the first half repeated last year’s figure of 6.8 million.

At Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, first-half passenger numbers of 7.5 million were also level with last year. Yet the gateway's international transit traffic was up 4.7% and the uptrend accelerated in the second quarter, when the figure climbed 6.6% year-on-year.

“The strong position of Helsinki Airport in transit traffic is key to the whole air traffic in Finland and comprehensive connections to Europe,” said Sundelin.

“We are extremely satisfied with the positive development of Asian and transit traffic especially in the second quarter. New routes, such as Finnair’s routes to Hanoi in Vietnam and Xi’an in China, support Helsinki Airport’s status as the leading transit airport in northern Europe.”

But Finavia’s domestic passenger figures show no signs of recovery, he added.

“Unfortunately, the decline in domestic travel has continued all through the beginning of the year and was almost 11% even in the second quarter,” he said.

“Even though the decline has evened out somewhat, domestic passenger volume has not developed as expected. It does not seem likely that we will see considerable growth in domestic passenger volume in the long run either and it is likely that passenger volume will remain very low in many places.”

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