Air transport strategy: Preserving the airport network by developing regional airports

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 6.2.2015 11.45
Press release

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is putting forward more than 50 development policy ideas for the development of air transport and airports in its air transport strategy for 2015 - 2030.

Key aspects of the strategy include maintaining airports as a network also in the future, and the development of air transport and provincial airports as a collaborative effort of officials and the business community.

The air transport strategy was presented to Minister of Transport and Local Government Paula Risikko on 6 February. The strategy proposes taking measures and setting goals for airports, as well as areas such as policy on safety, air transport charges, and subsidies, navigation services, training, and ground handling services.

The strategy emphasises that air transport supports the possibilities for growth in the Finnish economy as well as the country's competitiveness. Air transport needs to be developed for the long term to serve the needs of passengers and other customers.

"The strategy offers a good foundation for the development work of different areas of air transport both on the national level and as part of the preparation and legislative work of the European Union and international organisations", Risikko says.

According to Risikko five regional working groups tasked with creating demand for regional airports and their services are to be established for implementing the strategy.

In addition to airports and air transport connections, targets for development include transport links to the airports. The connections could be implemented as travel chains linking different forms of transport.

"The cooperative groups will bring together representation from bodies including regional councils, chambers of commerce, airport municipalities, and entrepreneurs' organisations", Risikko explains.

Finland currently has 24 airports maintained by Finavia, as well as the foundation-operated airport in Seinäjoki, and the municipal airport of Mikkeli. Helsinki Helsinki Airport is the only profitable airport in the Finavia network: revenue from Helsinki is used to finance the entire network.

To secure an extensive airport and scheduled air transport network it is important to strengthen the competitiveness of Helsinki-Vantaa especially in the increasingly intensifying transit passenger service between Europe and Asia, the strategy says.

Three top projects have been named in the development of regional airports. The projects for Lapland and Northern Finland and Eastern Finland focus on the development of regional airports, their air transport services, and tourism. In Tampere there are plans to establish travel chains to the airport involving different forms of transport to serve passengers, and the business community.

In the strategy, unmanned aerial vehicles are seen to offer significant possibilities for growth for many services. These include, for instance, surveying, mapping and photography, security inspections for transport and energy networks, aid and rescue services, as well as border monitoring and national defence activities.

For this reason the expansion of the possibilities for using unmanned aerial vehicles should be supported. A progressive operating environment should be created for the activity, while at the same time securing the safety of unmanned aviation in shared airspace.

Although the safety of commercial air transport is currently at a high level, special efforts need to be made to secure the safety of recreational and general aviation. Measures to improve safety are being planned and implemented as collaboration among officials and the recreational aviation community, the strategy points out.

Further information on the strategy:
Mr Mikael Nyberg, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2474
Mr Risto Saari, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2474
Mr Lassi Hilska, Senior Adviser for Goods Transport, tel. +358 295 34 2497