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The increase in the passenger volume was driven by the growth in available connections: New direct routes were introduced to Asia and North America. In addition, new airlines to Helsinki Airport, such as American Airlines and Flybe, entered the Finnish market while Norwegian continued expanding its route offering.
The total number of passengers in international traffic was 13,620,000 (13.7%). Domestic traffic in Finland increased by one million passengers last year, totalling 5,468,000 (22.4%).
Helsinki Airport is the leading transfer airport in Northern Europe for travel between Europe and Asia. The total number of passengers at Helsinki Airport increased to 14.9 million, a new record for Finnish airports. The increase at Helsinki Airport was 15.5% compared to the previous year.
"The growth in the passenger volume of Helsinki Airport last year was the strongest in comparison to other transfer airports in Northern Europe. We are currently investing heavily in our services for improved customer experience and aim to remain the leading airport" says Kimmo Ruotsalainen, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Finavia. The success of Helsinki Airport creates successful operating conditions for air traffic throughout Finland.
For North America, the number of passengers increased in 2011 by 45% compared to 2010. This was affected by the new direct connection from Helsinki Airport to Chicago.
Lapland Airports’ (Enontekiö, Ivalo, Kemi-Tornio, Kittilä, Kuusamo and Rovaniemi Airports) passenger volumes grew by 16.4% to a total of 1,042,000. Compared to 2010, the increase at Rovaniemi airport was the most extensive: +28%. The United Kingdom still remains the main charter flight market for Lapland. France was the second largest outbound market for Lapland.
The number of passengers at Oulu Airport was the best ever: the increase was 39%
compared to 2010 with over 974,000 passengers in total.
In addition to Helsinki Airport and Oulu Airport, Turku and Lappeenranta also set new passenger volume records. The increase at Turku was +5.7% and at Lappeenranta +90.3%. The increase at Tampere was +6.5% and at Vaasa +18%.
"The favourable development in passenger volume and traffic was affected last year by new airlines, such as Norwegian, entering the market. In addition to Norwegian, Ryanair increased its volume of international travel in Finland, particularly in Lappeenranta, says Mr Ruotsalainen.
Internationally, Germany, Sweden and the UK were the most important destinations from Finland. Japan, China and Thailand were the most important long-haul destinations. In Asia, Singapore is the most recently introduced destination. Demand for holiday flights to long-haul destinations increased, the most popular ones being Thailand, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Greece and Spain were the most popular holiday flight destinations in Europe.