This year, Tallinn Airport expects to serve three million passengers, an increase of 300,000 compared to 2022. The annual rise is predicted to occur due to the removal of coronavirus related restrictions, which has had a negative impact on air passenger numbers in recent years.
Riivo Tuvike, Tallinn Airport's board chair, told ERR that, after coronavirus restrictions were relaxed last spring, the number of passengers traveling through airports increased around the world. According to Tuvike, that trend is expected to continue in 2023.
"Of course, there are lot of variables and unknowns, which could affect the number of passengers, such as the new wave of the coronavirus in China and the continuing price increases," he said.
"Nevertheless, we predict that three million passengers could pass through the airport this year."
In 2022, Tallinn Airport served 2.7 million passengers 200,000 more than the target set at the beginning of the year. Nearly 64,000 passed through Estonia's regional airports, with Kuressaare serving the highest number of passengers.
The number of passengers traveling through Tallinn Airport in December exceeded the figures for 2021, which were significantly impacted by the coronavirus, by almost a quarter.
According to Tuvike, last year's summer schedule was one of the most successful in the airport's history, with flights from Tallinn to a total of 42 destinations, in addition to charter flights to various vacation spots.
Summer schedules to be announced in March.
Tuvike was currently unable to confirm all the destinations, which will be available to fly to from Tallinn this summer, as some airlines may still make changes. Plans for the summer are expected to be finalized in March.
"At the moment, we know that SunExpress will be offering four flights a week to Antalya starting from the end of March, Aegean (airlines) will resume its direct flights to Athens from May. Also starting in May, airBaltic will start flying to Split and Dubrovnik, Heraklion and Rhodes, as well as adding more frequent flights to Paris, London, Berlin, Malaga and Nice," Tuvike said.
According to Tuvike, the summer timetable will not include flights to Paphos or Salzburg, as both routes are only in operation during the winter season. However, charter flights to resorts in Spain, Greece and Turkey will continue during the summer.
Construction work continues
The ongoing reconstruction work at Tallinn Airport is set to continue at this year. The terminal will continue to expand, creating an additional 10,000 square meters of services and commercial space for passengers.
A new gate area for travelers to non-Schengen countries will also be built, and at the end of 2023, the airport's business class lounge will undergo a complete renovation.
This year, hand baggage screening machines at the airport will also be replaced by a new generation of equipment. "As a result, passengers will no longer need to remove liquids or electronic items from their (hand) luggage), which will significantly increase convenience for passengers and speed up the security clearance process," said Tuvike.
Construction work is also due to start this year on the Mõigu end of the airport's runway, where infrastructure for cargo and aircraft maintenance companies will be built. Solar panels will continue to be installed at airports throughout Estonia along with further investment in sustainable and environmentally-friendly equipment and technology.
In 2022, Tallinn Airport saw an average of 104 take-offs and landings per day. AirBaltic and Ryanair were the two most popular airlines running flights to and from Tallinn, with each carrying 22 percent of all passengers throughout the year.
In December, there were direct flights from Tallinn to 33 destinations. Around 40 percent of the airport's passengers flew to major regional hubs such as Helsinki, Riga, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Warsaw.
Editor: Michael Cole