Record-breaking numbers at Lapland airports says Finavia

Rovaniemi Airport in Lapland, Finland. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Airports in Finland’s Arctic Lapland saw record-breaking numbers in 2023, Finland’s airport administration reported this week.

In total, the operator logged 1.5 million passengers passing through their Lapland airports in 2023, up 20 per cent from the 1.2 million passengers in 2022. 

Booming winter season

The strong Lapland numbers were due to a booming winter season.

In November and December alone, Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Ivalo, Kuusamo and Kemi-Tornio airports saw 547,773 passengers travel through them. 

“Overall, about half of the flights to Lapland are regular scheduled flights,” Petri , director of Finavia’s route development, said in a statement this week.

“This winter season, Lapland is connected to Europe with up to 20 direct route connections. Regular scheduled flights are very important for the attractiveness of the area and they serve not only local residents but also business life.”

An intersection in Inari Finland with signs pointing to tourist sites and destinations. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

“The comprehensive onward connections offered by the routes attract passengers from a wider area,” Vuori said. 

Nation-wide, numbers up 19 per cent 

This surge of seasonal travellers to Lapland contributed to a nation-wide increase in passenger numbers of 19 per cent compared to 2022.

In all 18.3 passengers travelled through Finavia airports in 2023. Of those, 15.3 million were in the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. 

Eighty per cent of all 2023 passengers at Finavia airports were on international flights. Domestic flights made up the remaining 20 per cent.

Helsinki Airport alone saw some 15.3 million passengers in 2022. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

In 2023, although there was a rise in the number of passengers, they haven’t yet matched the levels recorded in 2019.

Vuori said improving the accessibility of Finland by air is an ongoing project, but is already showing results. 

“We are actively trying to strengthen air connections in cooperation with airlines and tourism organizations in order to improve Finland’s accessibility,” Vuori said. 

“In 2023, there were approximately 130 direct routes from Finland to different parts of the world. The number of passengers increased especially on European flights, but the development has also been positive on long-haul flights to North America and Asia.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Air North cancels winter flights between Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Toronto, CBC News

Finland: Saying “I do” in an igloo: Finland’s frozen wedding boom, Yle News

Iceland: Study touts domestic tourism potential in Nordics, custom approach needed for Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Old icebreakers eye upgrades for Murmansk-Vladivostok tourism, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Reindeer herding affected by increased tourism in Swedish mountains, Radio Sweden

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