First it was the flag carrier Finnair, and now it is the airports that need the state to save them.
Passenger traffic at airports operated by the state company Finavia have fallen sharply this year and, as a result, the company's economic situation has deteriorated significantly.
Last week, Finavia asked state authorities for a recapitalization of 350 million euros to survive the collapse of air traffic caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The ministerial committee on Economic Policy "has decided to support the request for authorization from Parliament to recapitalize the company" with 350 million in connection with the 2021 budget, the government communications department said in a press release.
According to the Finnish government, the company needs additional capitalization because the drop in air travel caused by the coronavirus has been "dramatic."
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, about 90% fewer passengers have passed through Finavia's airports than a year earlier. Both international and domestic air connections "are essential for the Finnish economy," the government remarks.
“The effects of the coronavirus crisis on global aviation are persisting. Passenger numbers at Finavia's airports have completely collapsed and, unfortunately, are not expected to return quickly to pre-pandemic levels. As a long-term owner, the state wants to develop Finavia's competitiveness and thus ensure that there are preconditions for good domestic and international air connections throughout Finland in the future as well,” says Tytti Tuppurainen, Minister responsible for state ownership steering.
Helsinki airport expansion
Finavia is currently implementing a major development program, which includes, for example, the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport expansion and the development of Lapland airports.
“Finavia is a company owned by all Finns. We play a key role in building the connections for Finns, and we are an integral part of Finnish society and the traffic system. The COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented financial distress for the aviation and tourism sectors. The consequences are also dramatic for us,” says Finavia’s CEO Kimmo Mäki.
The government considers "appropriate" to complete the program despite the drop in passenger numbers. "Travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in the long term, and the investment will create opportunities for responsible growth in air transport after the crisis," the government explains.