Oslo’s main airport beats its rivals

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Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, OSL, has now emerged as the largest in the Nordic region, with more passenger traffic last month than the airports at Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki or Reykjavik. It’s the first time OSL has had more traffic than Copenhagen (CPH).

SAS and Norwegian jets park side-by-side at Oslo's main airport at Gardermoen, but are fierce rivals with huge differences in costs, not least those involving executive pay. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen is now the biggest in the Nordic region, at least for now. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Even though Norway’s population is much smaller than Sweden’s and also smaller than Denmark’s or Finland’s, Norwegians are traveling like never before. The country’s strong economy has also generated a surge of business travel, visitors and prospective immigrants.

Low airfares can also help explain why a total of 1,609,185 passengers traveled through OSL Gardermoen last month, according to OSL officials. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that 1,594,715 passengers traveled in February through Copenhagen’s airport at Kastrup (CPH), which traditionally has been the hub for the Scandinavian countries.

“This is good news to get,” OSL spokesman Joachim Westher Andersen told NRK. “It means a lot to us that we can now call ourselves ‘Norden’s biggest airport.'” “Norden” is the name given to the Nordic region that includes Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. Scandinavia includes just Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Andersen noted, however, the February statistics are only for the month “and that means we won’t necessarily be biggest when the year is over, but we are undoubtedly on the right track.” Environmentalists worried about the carbon emissions of so much air traffic may not agree, while the airline industry welcomes the growth. OSL Gardermoen, which opened in 1998, is already undergoing a major expansion program to handle its rising numbers of passengers and flights.

Growth strongest in Stavanger
Avinor, which runs Norway’s airports, said traffic through OSL was actually down slightly from February last year, while the strongest passenger growth domestically was logged at Stavanger’s main airport at Sola, up 6.5 percent. Stavanger is the traditional hub for Norway’s oil and gas industry, which generates a lot of business travel.

Traffic through Bergen’s airport was up 2 percent and Trondheim was up 1.8 percent, reported Avinor. Traffic at the airport in Tromsø in northern Norway, which has been experiencing a big increase in winter tourism, was up 4.3 percent.

Airport traffic on a nationwide basis was up 0.4 percent, with 3,416,169 passengers passing through Norway’s airports in February, according to Avinor.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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