Opening Sweden to the world

International Airport Review Editor, Holly Miles, caught up with Elizabeth Axtelius, Director Aviation Business at Swedavia Airports at the recent World Routes conference in Milan. Together, they discussed Swedavia’s performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery and route development, as well as the future.

Opening Sweden to the world

Credit: Swedavia

Like most airports, the pandemic has had a huge impact on Swedavia’s traffic and passenger figures, seeing their terminals almost empty at certain points. In September 2021, around 1.4 million passengers flew via Swedavia’s 10 airports, a decrease of 61 per cent compared to September 2019, but October was the best month at their airports since the pandemic started.

Air cargo has also proved a challenge for Swedavia, in the context of Sweden’s export-driven economy. According to Elizabeth, the integrators / express companies such as Fedex, DHL etc. have been growing, but total volumes are lower due to the lack of capacity. “Long-haul passenger traffic has been severely hurt, aircrafts are parked, and less cargo capacity is offered. Currently the future looks good though, the economy is doing well.”

Talking about the impact the pandemic has had on Swedavia and the measures they took to protect revenues and business operations, Elizabeth said: “For Swedavia as an organisation, our first and foremost priority is, and has been, to limit the spread of the disease and protect people’s lives and health. This is directly followed by our commitment to securing Swedavia’s long-term financial position and supporting our valued customers in the best way.”

Swedavia took several measures to secure its economy and long-term operation including reducing costs and securing financial funds, one of which was adapting operations to a minimum and temporarily closing terminals to reduce overheads and operating costs as much as possible.
However, unfortunately – as for many airports – this was not without its casualties: “To adapt the organisation to the new situation and create room for manoeuvre as developments unfolded, we unfortunately had to reduce the number of employees and we have reorganised the company to be better prepared for the future.”

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