Drafting of the air transport strategy continues
The Ministry of Transport and Communications launched the drafting of an air transport strategy in September 2012. The strategy is due for completion in late 2014. The working group appointed to prepare the strategy gave an interim report on 17 December after reaching the half-way mark in its work. Above all, the interim report is a review of the work completed so far, with a particular focus on the airport network and the service level of air transport. The interim report notes that the service level of long-distance passenger traffic must be examined as a whole from the perspective of the entire public transport system. It may be possible to provide the current service level, or even an improved level, with a less extensive airport network than today, if passenger flows combined into larger volumes can attract airlines to offer more frequent flights or more convenient schedules. The working group notes that rather than a purpose in itself, an airport is a setting for offering air transport services. Airlines will then make decisions on the destinations, frequency and terms of the flight connections that it is appropriate for them to provide on commercial grounds. Helsinki-Vantaa airport has become one of the greatest hubs for intercontinental flights in air transport between Asia and Europe. However, competition for transit passengers in international air traffic is becoming tougher, for example as Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg has opened a new terminal.
The Government's decision in August 2013 to capitalise Finavia with EUR 200 million is thus important in that it will allow Helsinki-Vantaa airport to launch extensive development and expansion investments aiming to maintain and improve its competitiveness.
The preparation of the air transport strategy will continue with an impact assessment, the purpose of which is to consider the impacts of various airport network alternatives on regional accessibility.
The impact assessments will be completed in time to allow the making of any policy decisions on the airport network in the government spending limits discussion in the spring.
In addition to addressing the airport network and service level, the drafting related to other thematic wholes of the strategy will continue in 2014, including air navigation services, safety and security, environmental and training issues. These themes and the associated recommendations for measures will be discussed in the final report.
APPENDIX: Air transport strategy interim report (in Finnish) / www.lvm.fi/lentoliikennestrategia
Ms Sarianne Hartonen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Transport, tel. +358 295 34 2325
Mr Lassi Hilska, Senior Adviser for Goods Transport, tel. +358 295 34 2497
Mr Risto Saari, Senior Adviser for Vehicles, tel. +358 295 34 2311