Tallinn: gateway to Asia?

  • 2010-10-27
  • Staff and wire reports

TALLINN - Tallin airport aims to become the transport hub of Estonia. Riigikogu economy committee chairman Urmas Klaas, said that the Tallinn Airport must change and become more like the travel center for the whole of Estonia, Postimees Online reports.
Klaas said that it should be possible to get to and from the Tallinn Airport comfortably to the city center and the central bus station, port and railway station, making it quick to connect the airport with all of Estonia. He states that the topic of such a travel center becomes even more important due to opening of new flight routes.

Rein Loki, Tallinn Airport board chairman, introduced the development plans of the airport to the Riigikogu economy committee. The officials stated that since air connections form an important part of Estonia’s business environment, it must be possible to fly from Tallinn to all the most important European business centers and back in the course of a day. They also agreed that Tallinn Airport should focus on becoming a center for Asian flights as Tallinn is the closest EU capital to China and must make better use of its favorable location and developed infrastructure. Loik confirmed that Tallinn Airport has held talks with two Chinese airlines.

Erik Sakkov, board member of Tallinn Airport, said to aripaev.ee that the success of Finnair in Helsinki shows that the plan is realistic. “But it is difficult to say what is the likelihood that Estonia will become a similar hub,” he said.
Tallinn Airport’s plans to become a competitor of the Helsinki Vantaa airport with the help of cooperation with the Chinese does not concern Finnair, “The Helsinki Vantaa airport has such a strong position in European-Asian air traffic that an Estonian-Chinese possible cooperation does not cause any bigger concern for us, although one should never underestimate a competitor,” said Finnair’s manager Taneli Hassinen to Helsingin Sanomat.

This autumn also brought news about new flight routes and airlines operating from Tallinn Airport
The decision of the Estonian government to grant extra funds for Tallinn Airport to pursue more flight connections along with the European Culture Capital project were the main motivators for low-cost carrier Ryanair’s decision to launch direct flights from Tallinn, National Broadcasting reports.

At the talks with Estonian authorities Ryanair promised to bring around 300,000 passengers a year to Tallinn on the seven routes it will launch. “If we are satisfied, we are ready to double the number of passengers in a couple of years time,” said Ryanair’s Central and East European sales director Laszlo Tamas.
Ryanair will fly from Tallinn to Oslo, Stockholm, Milan, Dusseldorf, Dublin, London and Edinburgh. The company will bring an estimated 50 million euros to the Estonian economy a year.

Tallinn is on track to become the city break capital of Europe in 2011, according to the Estonia Tourist Board. The organization made the claim following the news that easyJet would be launching flights to the destination from Liverpool in April next year. EasyJet already provides daily connections to Tallinn from London Stansted, while Estonian Air operates a twice-weekly service from the same airport. Tallinn Airport is also close to reaching agreement with Air Berlin.