Ida-Viru County leaders test-fly to south Finland

Esa Korjula, CEO of Pyhtää Airport operating company Redstone Aero, and Terhi Lindholm, mayor of Pyhtää municipality, were on board the plane from Narva.
Esa Korjula, CEO of Pyhtää Airport operating company Redstone Aero, and Terhi Lindholm, mayor of Pyhtää municipality, were on board the plane from Narva. Source: Kirsi Lönnblad / Yle

Ida-Viru county officials flew from an airport near Narva to Pyhtää in southern Finland on Friday, as they consider the possibility of establishing a flight connection.

Pilatus, a ten-seater Swiss-made aircraft that took off from Narva-Olgina airport with representatives of the municipalities of Narva, Sillamäe and Narva-Jõesuu and the Business Center of Ida-Viru County on board, landed at Pyhtää airport after a half-hour flight, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

Esa Korjula, managing director of Redstone Aero, the company that serves the Pyhtää airport, said that there has been no discussion of launching regular flights between Narva and Pyhtää , but rather demand-based flights or air taxis.

"I believe this is the beginning of an effort to give people a sense of what it's like to fly for 35 minutes and in what kind of aircraft they would be flying," Korjula said.

However, one or more companies could start operating on the route; technically, the airport is ready for this, he said.

The mayor of Narva-Jõesuu, Maksim Ilyin, believes that the opening of the line is possible. "The flight only lasted 35 minutes. So everyone can see for themselves what opportunities it creates between north-eastern Estonia and south-eastern Finland," he said.

"We agreed with the Finnish side a year ago that we would begin active cooperation in establishing an airport to Olgina in the near future. The airport in the town of Pyhtää has shown a great deal of interest in our project, so today we are going explore this possibility in greater detail," Ilyin said prior to departure.

Ida-Viru officials boarding a plane to Finland. Source: Alar Tasa / Narva-Jõesuu City

The purpose of this trip is to demonstrate the possibility of establishing a flight connection between Ida-Viru County and south-eastern Finland. In addition, the officials are meeting with the leaders of the city of Pyhtää to discuss common challenges on the border with Russia and to discuss plans for the development of airports on our territories. The Narva-Jõesuu city government also intends to discuss potential cooperation in the preparation and implementation of joint projects.

Neither Finnish nor Estonian officials, however, were willing to say when or whether the link would be launched.

Terhi Lindholm, the mayor of Pyhtää, emphasized that it cannot be launched very soon but she sees the opportunities in it for the development and growth of local industry, commerce and tourism.

The neighboring city of Kotka's mayor shared the same opinion. "This is a solid beginning. Since we are in a logistical area, it is worthwhile to examine whether the conditions exist for such a link," Esa Sirvio, the mayor of Kotka, said.

Yle reported earlier that the Kotka region had also considered establishing a ferry connection with northeastern Estonia.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa

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