Air + Rail + Road = AiRRport. Tampere came to this formula in 2012 when the city started looking for paths of development of Tampere-Pirkkala international airport. Now it is actively used for development of new transport routes combining railroads, motorways and international air routes into a consistent system.
The key part of this concept is an unusual solution – a remote terminal. It is possible that already in spring 2017 Tampere-Pirkkala terminal will be located separately from the airport. Passengers of international flights will be able to check in, drop their luggage and go to duty-free shops in the downtown, and then use an air-express to get directly to the pre-flight checkpoint and the gate. It has not yet been decided where exactly the terminal will be located: at the railway station, in the hall of one of the hotels or somewhere else.
After a while, it is planned to open remote terminals in cities of Western and Central Finland. It will also be possible to check in for a flight departing from Tampere there.
For example, a resident of Jyväskylä going to Stockholm from Tampere checks in and drops his/her luggage at the remote terminal at the railway station of Jyväskylä. He/she uses a train and the air-express to get to Tampere-Pirkkala airport without any luggage and with a boarding pass only. He/she will receive the luggage at the Stockholm airport. Tampere dreams of making such logistics come true in a couple of years.
Marja Aalto, the Director for Air Traffic Development of the Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea, says that the project will attract the interest of new airlines to Tampere-Pirkkala terminal that will result in airport passenger traffic increase to 1 million by 2020 and to 8 million by 2030.
Today, airports have to work hard to attract air carriers. Depending on the occupancy of flights from a terminal, airlines make quick decisions on changing routes and airports. The Air+Rail+Road concept does not require all terminal services to be located near the runway. This will allow for reducing airport charges for airlines and increase competitiveness of Tampere-Pirkkala airport. Currently Tampere is solving a difficult issue of luggage transportation from a remote terminal to the cargo compartment of an airplane.
Why is the question of air traffic development so important for the city located in an hour and a half drive from Helsinki?
"It is normal to get to Central Europe from Tampere within three hours and get back the same day. It is not normal when such possibility is unavailable". "Development and growth are concentrated in places with developed international air traffic". These are the comments of international experts about Tampere made on the First Annual Aviation Forum in Tampere in December 2015.
"Success of Finnish international trade mainly depends on quick access of companies located in Finland to other countries," Marja Aalto explains. "High economic development of Pirkanmaa region and Tampere in particular is based on export industry and needs comfortable international routes."
Today, over 3 million people in Finland live within a two-hour drive from Tampere. Two thirds of the country’s GDP is produced on the inland territory of Finland with economic and logistics centre in Tampere. The most important transport routes of Finland are connected in Tampere. If we add an established air connection with the world, the region will be able to satisfy transport needs of the whole Central and Western Finland.
Tampere-Pirkkala is, first of all, an international airport. Based on data of Finnavia, from 2005 till 2014 its share in international transportations in the whole Finland except for Helsinki amounted to 38%, for domestic flights this value amounted to 4%.
"The airport serves all inland Finland and this is why its development is of national importance," continues Ms Aalto. "Its good, in all senses, location should be used at full capacity. We plan to attract more permanent airlines to the airport and make Tampere-Pirkkala a centre for international transportations in Central and Western Finland. By implementing the AiRRport project, we increase the international competitiveness of business on this vast territory."
Key figures of Tampere-Pirkkala airport
- 412 609 passengers per year of which over 77% are passengers of international flights (as of 2014)
- Over 1100 passengers per day
- Regular flights of SAS and Finnair airlines: 4 direct flights per day to Stockholm (SAS) and 4-5 flights per day to Helsinki (Finnair)
- Direct flights of Ryanair low-cost airline from Tampere to Bremen (Germany) and Budapest (Hungary) starting from April 2016
- Direct charter flights from Tampere to Zadar (Croatia) by WeTravel tour operator in summer 2016
In just five years, these figures can increase by several times. A million passengers per year, that is the goal of Tampere, which means 19 231 passengers per week, 6 061 flights per year and 17 flights every day. In other words, it will be possible to fly from Tampere to one of European cities almost every hour. They plan to increase this number to 5 million passengers by 2025 and to 8 million by 2030.