Tallinn Airport board chairman Riivo Tuvike said the airport is preparing for the total number of travelers to exceed a million by the end of the year. Extension works are also planned, which the airport hopes can bring the number of travelers above what it was pre-pandemic.
Riivo Tuvike told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" that 717,000 travelers have passed through the airport this year, up 20 percent from the same time last year, but significantly less than in 2019.
"But trends from the last months have been positive and we estimate the total number of travelers by the end of the year to be one million and then some," Tuvike noted.
In 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus had effects on Tallinn Airport, 3.1 million travelers passed through. Tuvike said that number could reach 3.5 by 2024.
"At the same time, 3.5-4 million is the limit for the terminal today. It will be hard to serve customers well above that. To reach those numbers, we need further development. We have the land for it. A realistic goal for the decade is 5-6 million travelers a year," the airport manager said.
Tuvike explained that the number of destinations fell drastically when the coronavirus pandemic started. Some destinations have returned and by the end of November, 31 destinations will be available from Tallinn Airport, which is equal to the situation in the end of 2019.
"Before the pandemic, we dreamed of Rome and Zürich as new destinations. It is now reality. We have dreamed of flights outside of Europe - Dubai, for example. Dubai was in our reach before the pandemic. I do not see it in the near future, but it will happen. But it is a dream," Tuvike said.
He added that the main destinations from Tallinn Airport are European hubs that connect Estonia to the world. The airport is planning on investing €90 million in 2022-2025 with €40 million going toward extending the airport to the South.
"It is not for passengers, but for cargo and to extend our plane maintenance business. We wish to extend our income portfolio, so we would not be so dependent on travelers."
Another priority for the airport is the green turn, which will see up to €12 million invested by 2025. "And the third thing is our terminal. The first extension stage of the terminal will be in the existing building. We will make it wider in places to allow for more passengers. The next stage is the parking lot between the tram terminal and the parking lot, which we want to build up. It is in the plans for 2025 and on," Tuvike concluded.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste