Rapidly growing international passengers drives figures.
Finland’s airports saw nearly 22.7 million passengers in 2017, operator Finavia has revealed, growth of 9.2% on the previous year. Helsinki Airport broke its record with almost 19 million, up 9.9%.
The trend is upwards, as passenger numbers for the country for the month of December increased by 10.8%.
The growth reflects an excellent year at Finnair, the allure of Finland and the increasingly important status of Helsinki Airport as a European hub for Asian passengers, Finavia said.
“Our various figures reached new millions as expected, although faster than predicted,” said Joni Sundelin, Finavia’s senior vice president for sales and network.
Helsinki served a total of more than 18.9 million passengers in 2017, buoyed up by growth in international air traffic of 11.4%. Three new airlines started operating at HEL during the year.
The second biggest rise in passengers was seen at airports in Lapland in Northern Finland, which achieved their milestone of one million earlier in the year than ever before.
But numbers at Oulu, Finland’s largest airport after Helsinki, remained slightly under one million due to a runway renovation in the summer.
“Finnish Lapland is an increasingly popular destination. Passengers on chartered and scheduled flights as well as international celebrities and other private plane users want to experience the magic of Lapland and visit its most famous resident, Santa Claus,” Sundelin explains.
“A number of our airports in Lapland saw record breaking figures in 2017. Rovaniemi Airport, the Santa’s official airport, for example, served more than 570,000 passengers.”
Despite the growth in Asia traffic, up 20% in 2017, seven out of ten passengers on scheduled international flights are still from the EU. The biggest numbers are from Germany, Sweden, Spain and the UK. But the biggest growth is from Japan, China, Russia and Hong Kong.