The Avia network is based in City of Vantaa, which has the only international hub in Finland, Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
The Avia network is open for all public, private and third sector actors who have an interest in developing the airport. The common goal for all players is to develop Helsinki-Vantaa airport and area, its connectivity, customer experience and sustainability. Sharing knowledge and best practices have been one of the key targets for the network. Benchmarking other airports and their actions are significant for all stakeholders. Meetings, where keynote speakers open current affairs and other interesting topics, has been found very useful. The network also acts as a research and development platform for its members, lobbies for common goals and communicates of its achievements.
The network had a meeting in Mid-June and the topic was the current situation due to Covid-19 and had a pleasure of having three interesting speakers to tell us a current situation in their field. We had Minister for Transport and Communications Timo Harakka from Ministry for Transport and Communications, Head for Visit Finland, Executive Director Paavo Virkkunen from Business Finland and SVP Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility Arja Suominen from Finnair.
Minister Timo Harakka told us about the opening of national borders to the Baltic States as well as to other Nordic states expect Sweden. Next step will be after Mid-Summer, end of June when the situation will be re-evaluated and hopefully part of Schengen will open for regular travel and tourism. He also mentioned a supplementary budget proposal for 2020, which is part of the Government's coronavirus crisis follow-up package. Sustainable growth is behind all investments in infrastructure such as support to public transport and railroad projects.
Even Corona crises is acute we have to remember long time plans like National Transport System Plan for 12 years which includes a plan for improving railroad infrastructure for faster trains and connectivity from Helsinki to Tampere via Airport, so-called Air-rail which would cut the travel time from downtown Helsinki to the airport to half of its current 30 minutes to 15 minutes.
Head for Visit Finland, Executive Director Paavo Virkkunen from Business Finland told us about current situation in travel and tourism industry. Visit Finland has a “Travel Trade Recovery Plan” for giving a holistic big picture of situation in domestic as well as in international market and being ready for attracting both leisure and business travels to Finland when borders are open.
Confidence, trust, and willingness to travel is essential to the market for its recovery. Excellent connectivity, transportation modes and opening borders are paramount in competitive travel market. Some successful campaigns from last year like “Rent a Finn” lives online.
From Finnair, we had SVP Corporate Communications and Responsibility Arja Suominen telling us current situation in Finnair, where the situation is a very difficult one as for all airlines around the world. High hopes are to abandon travel barriers and restrictions for operating more flights more frequently. As forecast by many stakeholders Finnair shares the common vision of attaining passenger numbers of 2019 only in 2023. Finnair has launched a campaign “Fly with Confidence” to build trust and easing back to skies.
All guest speakers, as well as the audience, had high hopes and a common vision for the better second half of 2020. For restart and returning back to normal will all our stakeholders to do their best.