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27 September 2021
by Eero Pärgmäe
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A delegation from Tartu County visited Seinäjoki, Finland, to discuss co-operation in the field of future aviation

Tartu City Government Press Release

From 15–17 September, a delegation from Tartu County visited the Seinäjoki region with the goal of learning from the experiences of the airport there and developing cooperation between Tartu and the Seinäjoki Airport. The privately owned Seinäjoki Airport aims to be Finland’s first international drone airport.

Seinäjoki is a regional airport in Southern Ostrobothnia, with an annual budget of EUR 350,000, with an annual number of flights (4000) comparable to COVID-19 pre-crisis Tartu Airport. A total of 500 business flights took place in 2020, and according to Elisabet Kivimäki, the representative of Into Seinäjoki, without the possibility of direct flights, some businesses would move out of the region and the number of investments would decrease.

The Tartu delegation, which included representatives from the city, county, Estonian Aviation Academy, Estonian Aviation Cluster and entrepreneurs, visited Seinäjoki Airport, met with research and development organizations and entrepreneurs in the field of aviation. ‘Aviation of the future is regional, there will be more airports, electric and hydrogen planes will begin flying, which will make flying cheaper, easier, faster and more environmentally friendly,’ said Juhani Pakari, Chairman of the Management Board of Seinäjoki Airport and the founder of several airlines. ‘It is important that the airport and airline management model is flexible and efficient,’ he added.

According to Kristo Reinsalu, Head of the Estonian Aviation Cluster, the experience of Seinäjoki Airport clearly shows that regional airports can be developed up to 40% more economically with the help of a demand-based service model. ‘The most important thing is the existence of a visionary and an ambitious leader, and strong support from the local business community,’ said Reinsalu. ‘The creation of a next generation logistics centre, with cargo and last mile drone services, by 2022, and the development of electric aviation through the Kvarken FAIR project ensures a climate-neutral future,’ noted the head of the cluster, adding that we could hold joint business seminars to exchange experiences with our Scandinavian partners.

The visit to Seinäjoki took place within the framework of the LEADER cooperation project ‘Air traffic and logistics development between the EU rural areas and China’. In addition to the Tartu region of Estonia, regional airports and partners from Finland, Slovenia, Greece, and Italy are participating in the project.

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