More than 150,000 passengers went through Tallinn Airport in July, a coronavirus pandemic record, but it still half of the traffic before the virus took over international travel last year.
People heading for flights in Tallinn recently can see a more lively airport. The airport's commercial manager Eero Pärgmäe said they have done well in July. Most of the travelers are Estonian, as there are few foreign tourists.
"The picture at Tallinn Airport is the best it has been in a year and a half. We have not seen passenger numbers as high as this in a long time," Pärgmäe said, adding that the number of passengers exceeded 150,000 in July. "At the same time, if we compare it to 2019, the number is still around half of what it was, so there is plenty of room for growth."
The airport manager noted that the most common passenger currently is an Estonian heading for vacation. "The most popular flights are to vacation destinations in the Mediterranean and in the South. Much fewer tourists arriving than two years ago," Pärgmäe said.
While rules for travel in Europe have mostly been unified, Pärgmäe emphasized that people should check their destination country's COVID-19 restrictions and regulations meticulously. Flight companies are also going by the countries' directives.
"The requirements of airports and flight companies are similar. There is one main requirement of mask-wearing. Country requirements continue to differ and they will also change based on what the viral situation currently is, so travelers should check their destination country's requirements before they head out. From what age should children be tested, for example. These things must be made clear before," Pärgmäe said.
It is hard to predict anything currently and Pärgmäe said the flight market in fall will largely depend on the return of business travelers. "It continues to be a great question as we do not know how the next virus waves will develop and how many conferences can be organized in Estonia and elsewhere. I think we will do well until the end of the vacation period in the end of September, but October-November are still open," Pärgmäe said.
Turnover fell in first half of 2021, airport still made small profit
While Tallinn Airport's turnover fell in the first half of this year, it remained profitable meanwhile, to the tune of €100,000.
Riivo Tuvike, board chair, says however that the second half of the year will probably be more complicated.
He said: "The good results of the pre-coronavirus period, I.e. the first two months of 2020, are apparent in this comparison. The main reason for the reduced turnover was the lower revenue from aviation revenues, which in turn relates to the slower-than-expected recovery of air traffic," Tuvike said.
Turnover fell 15 percent to €10 million in the first half of this year, though the €100,000 profit represented a 111 percent rise on year, the airport says.
In July, the airport served 2,662 flights, making an average of 86 landings and take-offs per day, while January to July, 441,844 passengers passed through the airport, and 12,387 flights were operated.
By comparison, in the last full pre-coronavirus year, 2019, the airport served 3.26 million passengers and made a profit of €9.7 million.
Tuvike said that nonetheless, investment in strategically important projects needs to continue. "In the first half of the year, we made investments totaling €15.9 million," he said.
These investments would include improvements to baggage reclaim and also developing Pärnu Airport, which Tallinn Airport owns, along with five other small, regional airports across Estonia.
This article was updated to include information on Tallinn Airport financials for the first half of this year.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste