It is likely flights between Tartu and Helsinki will not be restored by airline company Finnair until next year, despite hopes the connection would be in place by the end of 2020.
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) told ERR that he has done everything he can, but Finnair is predicting low demand and as traveling is difficult, the company's prospects of reopening the route between Tartu and Finland in the near future are not very optimistic.
"Of course, our interest is that the air service is restored as soon as possible, but we also understand that there needs to be a demand for it. When making the budget for next year, we are planning the support it from Tartu [city government] in order for the flights to continue," Klaas said.
"It is very clear that it is not reasonable to plan [to allocate] huge sums of money because most probably, the flights won't be restored as quickly, but we are ready, observing the situation and we have a year for planning these sums," he noted.
The manager of Tartu Airport Roman Kulikov also confirmed that in the near future nor in the first half of next year, the reopening of the route shouldn't be expected.
Finnair is also observing the situation and the virological situation. Based on the preliminary information, the reopening will probably take place next autumn, he said.
Because Finnair was the only company flying from and to Tartu, the airport had to lay off 11 employees.
"When we had scheduled flights and we had these good years, then an average of 29,000 passengers passed through Tartu Airport a year. By the end of this year, we are planning the number to be a little less than 6,000 and next year 1,000," Kulikov said.
At the same time, Kulikov said that what was surprising, was that the number of flight operations at Tartu Airport increased by 15 percent compared to September last year which was dueto both Rally Estonia and private planes contributed.
Editor: Roberta Vaino