Tourists disembarking an aircraft at Kuusamo Airport, Northern Ostrobothnia, on 23 December 2017. Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) has expressed his concern about the lack of flights to northern parts of the country outside the winter season.
Lintilä raises eyebrows by voicing concern about lack of flights to Northern Finland
Financial experts have voiced their bafflement at the view of Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister of Economic Affairs, that Finnair does not provide sufficient services to Northern Finland- writes helsinkitimes.fi
Lintilä indicated to Uusi Suomi on Thursday that he intends to sit down with the state-owned airline to ask why it is reluctant to add more frequencies to the region in the summertime despite the demand “clearly” being there.
“I do have to discuss it with Finnair. About the strategy and principles, about why there aren’t more domestic flights in the summertime, even though the demand is clearly there. I’m sure they have their reasons, but I’d personally hope that domestic flights are guaranteed,” he commented by phone from Saariselkä, Lapland.
“I recognise that the strategy has been built on East Asia, but it is our duty to take care of domestic services.”
Lintilä, who is also responsible for matters related to ownership steering, visited the region at the start of this week to meet with local business owners, revealing that his main takeaway is that the tourism sector is concerned about the lack of flights to the region outside the winter season.
Sauli Vilén, a senior analyst at Inderes,views that the statement embodies the risks associated with state ownership.
“It’s a 99-per-cent certainty that if there was a profitable business opportunity, the markets would’ve rectified this. This is a concrete example of the risks of state ownership. We should keep those in mind!” he wrote on Twitter.
“The demand is there, but Finnair doesn’t want to fly,” tweeted Vesa Puttonen, a professor of finance at Aalto University. “Is the minister intent on asking Finnair why it’s not seizing this business opportunity? Or is the ownership steering minister intent on forcing Finnair to fly unprofitable routes?”
Lintilä on Thursday also voiced his delight with the rapid growth of the tourism sector in Finland.
Domestic demand for accommodation services grew by four per cent and international demand by as much as 17 per cent year-on-year in 2017. The increase in the number of overnight stays by foreign visitors was exceptional in comparison to other countries in Europe.
However, another concern for domestic tourism and accommodation service providers is the availability of skilled workers, according to Lintilä. “There has been a lot of talk about organising regional trainings for local young people. Some companies also recruit globally,” he said.
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