Finavia’s statistics for January–March reveal the huge impact of the coronavirus epidemic on air traffic

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Air traffic statistics published by Finavia show the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on air traffic and airport operations. In total, the number of air passengers for all Finavia airports fell by 20.1% in January–March. In March, Helsinki Airport’s passenger numbers
were down 57.2% compared to the same period the previous year.

The coronavirus pandemic has made itself felt in many ways at Finavia’s airports. All of us operating at airports have been worried about the safety of passengers. The pandemic, which became a worldwide outbreak in only a few weeks, has affected the entire industry in very significant and far-reaching ways. The situation has also had an effect on airlines and companies that operate at airports as well as jobs and investments.

According to the current estimate, the impact of the decrease in air traffic on Finavia’s turnover will be over EUR 100 million. We estimate that this year’s total number of passengers may be a third lower than last year’s. This is a much more dramatic drop than what air traffic has ever experienced before.

In order to overcome this challenging situation together with the airport community, we have provided our tenants and partners with significant relief. We have also decided to continue the ongoing Helsinki Airport Development Programme for the time being in order to guarantee Finland’s accessibility and competitiveness also in the future,” says Kimmo Mäki, the CEO of Finavia.

In January 2020, the number of passengers was still growing moderately, following the trend from the previous year. As the coronavirus epidemic spread in Asia, the number of passengers declined significantly in February, particularly on routes to and from China. The impact of the pandemic is most obvious in the statistics for March, in which the number of passengers on routes to and from China fell by 95.8% compared to the same time the previous year.

As the pandemic spread to Europe, European airlines’ demand decreased significantly due to restrictions imposed by the authorities and reduced travel. In March, there were about 4,000 passengers (-89.5%) on routes to and from Italy and 84,000 passengers (-56.3%) on routes to and from Spain. 298,000 passengers (-55.0%) travelled on domestic flights in March, and the number fell sharply towards the end of March as the travel restrictions imposed by the authorities came into force. The passenger numbers of network airports fell by a total of 18.7% in January–March. Out of the larger airports, the number of passengers fell the most in Oulu (-26.0%), Kittilä (-13.5%) and Rovaniemi (-12.0%).

One thing to note about the statistics is that Finavia does not record passengers’ nationalities. Instead, passenger numbers are recorded by route and country. This means that a domestic passenger is not a Finnish citizen but a person travelling on a domestic route.

Helsinki Airport’s current situation

On a normal day, an average of 57,000 passengers would pass through Helsinki Airport. At the moment, the airport serves only a little over 1,000 passengers per day, and the number keeps falling. On 19 March, Finavia closed the check-in and baggage drop-off operations at Terminal 1 at Helsinki Airport and any services located in the lobbies. This means that all remaining flights will be operated through Terminal 2. Runway 3 was closed to air traffic for the time being on 1 April.

At the moment, all persons arriving in or leaving the country will need to go through border control, and all persons arriving in Finland will also need to go through the health check-up points operated by the health authorities. Other parts of the terminal have also been closed, both in the Schengen and the non-Schengen area. Finavia supports the authorities by – for example – making changes to the direction of passengers and passenger processes in the terminals and on the apron. Finavia has also taken many measures to make the terminals less crowded and reduce the risk of infection.

Although many points of service were closed also in the terminal areas that are still open, we will seek to keep certain points of service open at the airport, including the pharmacy and kiosks and cafés. Their opening hours will be reduced from the normal hours. There are a few restaurants at Helsinki Airport that sell take away food.

The measures Finavia is taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are described here.

Most of Finavia’s network airports have been closed temporarily

International flights are only operated from Helsinki Airport, Turku Airport and Mariehamn Airport. Domestic flights are currently operated from the following airports in addition to Helsinki Airport:

  • Kuopio
  • Mariehamn
  • Oulu
  • Rovaniemi
  • Savonlinna

However, the network airports’ situation may change as the epidemic continues. As the volume of domestic passenger traffic decreases temporarily, Tampere Airport and Jyväskylä Airport remain open for the purposes of international and domestic freight, security of supply, ambulance flights and the operations of the Finnish Defence Forces. The network airports also play a part in ensuring that operations that are critically important for society can continue throughout Finland despite the exceptional circumstances.

Finavia’s air traffic statistics are published on the Finavia website every month. We regularly update the press release in our newsroom about the changes in our airports’ operations.

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