Turkish Airlines opens flight between Istanbul and Rovaniemi

Tourism officials hope the new route will make the Arctic a destination for tourists from the Middle East.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 11, 2019

Service has begun on a new seasonal air route between Istanbul and Rovaniemi. The new route is the first long-distance flight to Rovaniemi and local tourism officials hope it will bring more visitors from the Middle East. The flight will operate three times a week this winter.

“There are 80 destinations that can be reached within three hours from Istanbul. This creates new possibilities for tourism in Lapland, both globally and especially in the Middle East, which has been a growing market for us in recent years,” said Sanna Kärkkäinen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi.

She added that professional travel companies from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Arab Emirates already have been introduced to what the winter in Lapland can offer.

From its newly opened airport hub in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines flies to 300 destinations in 122 countries.

Rovaniemi Airport has recently undergone an extensive expansion project which nearly doubled its floor area and services for passengers. The expansion is part of Finavia’s €55 million investment program for airports in Lapland that also includes Kittilä and Ivalo.

December is the busiest month of the year for Lapland airports. With 150,000 passengers in the Christmas period, Rovaniemi airport has five times more travellers than in June. Ivalo, further north, has 5,000 passengers in June compared with 70,000 expected for December.