Major expansion planned for Northern Finland’s airports

Finland’s airport operator Finavia announced major investments for the airports in Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Ivalo, in Lapland. In this picture, Finnair planes stand on the tarmac at Helsinki international airport. (Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/Reuters)
Airport operator Finavia is launching a major investment programme in northern Finland. It aims to raise the number of passengers using airports in Lapland and nearby Kuusamo to two million annually by 2030. That’s up from the 1.3 million people who passed through the region’s airports.

Finavia plans to spend 55 million euros to expand the airports this year and next. It estimates that this could create 500 new permanent jobs in the region.

The biggest investment of 25 million will go to the airport in Rovaniemi, capital of Finnish Lapland. Kittilä will receive 20 million, while Ivalo in the far north is to get 10 million euros. The expansion work is to begin immediately this month and be wrapped up by the end of 2019.

On Thursday the former civil aviation authority Finavia said that the newly-announced spending will bring total investments on Lapland’s airports to around 100 million euros in the 2014-2019 period.

Finavia CEO Kimmo Mäki says that the new expenditures are essential.

“The information we have about the next season’s air links shows that demand will continue to grow. As needed, we’re also ready to make other, smaller investments in the coming years,” he tells Yle.

Bigger terminals, more planes

Floor space at Rovaniemi’s terminal will expand by 75 percent. The airport will be able to receive five passenger jets per hour rather than the current three.

Kittilä’s terminal will grow by one-fifth while two new runways will be added.

The Ivalo terminal, too, will be 20 percent bigger with a larger baggage pickup zone. The airport will gain space for three more passenger planes, upping its capacity from four to seven.

All three airports are near ski resorts and other tourist attractions, making them mainstays of the Finnish travel industry.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Nunavut gears up for increase in Arctic tourism, Radio Canada International

Finland: Flights to Lapland help Finnair triple 2017 profits, YLE News

Norway: Murmansk-Oslo gets first ever flight link, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Arctic flights save time, but fuel climate change, Cryopolitics Blog

Sweden: Millions more flights from Swedish airports despite environmental toll, Yle News

United States: Alaskan airport 5th in world for air cargo, Alaska Public Radio Network

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