The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) has launched a tender for four Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes out of Helsinki Vantaa, to five regional airports in Finland.

The contract will run from October 31, 2022, to July 30, 2023, with an option to extend through April 2024. Because the current contracts expire on August 14, Traficom indicated that a gap in service of 2.5 months was likely unless an airline decides to operate the route(s) on a purely commercial basis i.e. without subsidies. The Finnish government expects the total amount of state assistance through April 2024 to reach EUR14 million euros (USD14.8 million) but has budgeted EUR17 million (USD17.9 million) to provide some margin.

The tender covers the following towns from Helsinki:

  • Joensuu (currently served by Amapola Flyg using Fokker 50s) with the requirement of at least 42 seats per flight and eight roundtrips per week,
  • Jyväskylä (awarded to NyxAir but currently not operated) - 21 seats per flight and nine roundtrips per week,
  • Kajaani (currently served by DAT (Denmark) using ATR42-300s) - 42 seats per flight and eight roundtrips per week, and
  • Kemi/Tornio and Kokkola/Pietarsaari (currently served by NyxAir using Saab 2000s) - no published seat requirement, frequency ranging from 8 to 14 roundtrips per week depending on the season.

Traficom said it had taken into account rising fuel prices and decided to decrease the frequency of subsidised routes in the new tender. Nonetheless, the schedule will be optimised to allow convenient transfers via Helsinki.

Bids are to be submitted by August 29, 2022.

Finland will award one more PSO contract - for Savonlinna - which is currently allocated to TransAviaBaltika and is not part of the current tender.