Last year smashed all the main records concerning passengers number through Tallinn Airport; altogether, 2.2 million passengers travelled through the airport.
Though Tallinn Airport was once one of the busiest airports in Eastern Europe in the 1930s, it took 69 years for it to become an airport of a million passengers. The milestone of two million was achieved in a mere seven years when at 11:50 a.m. on 16 November last year Aivar Mäe (in the photo) exited the airport’s baggage area as the two millionth passenger of the year.
Total passengers numbers for 2012 were 2,206,692, which is by far the biggest number in the history of the airport.
Last year also saw the best month in the history of the airport (July with 228,287 passengers), the best week with 53,857 passengers, and the best day with 9,782 passengers.
Behind the records, there is the active contribution of the airport in route development and particularly the fast development of the national airline company last year. In 2012, Estonian Air carried 887,083 passengers, contributing 40% of the market share of Tallinn Airport. In 2011, 33,664 transit passengers travelled through the airport, and this number increased to 224,695 last year.
Cruise turnaround and aviation top forum
Aside from the steady growth in passenger numbers, the major events of last year were the successful cruise turnarounds during the summer and hosting the top annual European aviation forum, Routes Europe, in Tallinn.
The number of summer cruise turnaround passengers increased more than two-fold when compared to the previous year. In five weekends, the airport and its partners catered Spanish cruise line operator Pullmantur, in which thousands of Spanish tourists arrived in Tallinn in giant Boeing 747 Pullmantur aircraft to begin their Baltic Sea cruises from Tallinn. The same planes then turned around and took a boat load of tourists back to Spain who had finished their Baltic Sea cruise in Tallinn.
Another major highlight of the 76th year of the airport, the international aviation forum Routes Europe, brought about 900 top experts from the European aviation sector and beyond to Estonia. The organisation of Routes Europe gave the airport a unique opportunity to introduce Tallinn and Estonia to airline and airport route developers as an attractive destination. As early as the first day of the forum, Turkish Airlines announced that it would begin to operate flights on the Istanbul-Tallinn route. It was a huge effort by the airport, requiring the hard work of both the top management and each customer attendant, but European aviation’s elite was excited over the event and with Estonia. The airport expects to see direct results in the form of new connections in the coming years.
Challenges of the New Year
The New Year will not be simple for the airport. Tallinn Airport forecasts passenger numbers to be 1.8 million. The expected decrease in passenger numbers is also primarily related to the national air company.
The biggest priority of Tallinn Airport this year is route development. The airport is constantly negotiating with about a few dozen airlines, but as a rule it takes at least a year between an agreement and the first flight. “All the negotiations are in different stages, each with its own challenges,” Erik Sakkov, Member of the Management Board of Tallinn Airport, admitted. “It does not show but we are completely committed to securing new connections. I hope that people will understand that there are no fast results; each new route is the result of years of work.”
In a business of extremely tight competition, it is not possible for the airport to comment regarding ongoing negotiations, but we hope to announce new flight routes in the spring that will commence in 2013/14. An overview of last year’s air traffic is available in a form of a table on the “Statistics and surveys” page.