Elizabeth Axtelius, director aviation business at Swedavia, speaks to Routes.
What are the major recent successes at your organisation?
Swedavia wants to be a driving force in reducing climate impact. I am incredibly proud that as the first airport group in the world – already in 2020, we reached the goal of being fossil-free in our own operations at all our 10 Swedavia airports – a result of relentless work in collaboration with partners to reach a goal that many had thought was not possible.
Three airlines established new bases at Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) in short time during the pandemic, resulting in a major route expansion with almost a hundred new routes since 2021, from Ryanair, Eurowings and Finnair. Naturally it is very gratifying since it proves airlines’ strong faith in the largest market in Scandinavia and in the attractiveness of the Stockholm region. An effect of the two new short-haul bases with both European and domestic traffic, is also an increased interest in our market from new destinations and airports across Europe. Unfortunately, Finnair had to paus the intercontinental traffic from ARN for the winter schedule due to the ongoing challenging situation in the world, but we are looking forward to developing the long-haul service again when the time is right.
What are your main strategic goals in the short-, medium- and long-term?
Naturally our main goal initially is to secure connectivity within Sweden and to major destinations within Europe and to large intercontinental hubs. It is important to get existing customers to return, but the new established bases are an important step forward to meet the demand in the market, for us to grow and to return to pre-pandemic levels. We need to further strengthen connectivity within Europe but of course also to large intercontinental markets, especially Asia when the markets are opening.
In the long-run, our strategic goal is to reach a good mix of competition at our airports – major low-cost airlines in combination with major network carriers that can increase and strengthen accessibility to many and smaller destinations across the world, with both non-stop routes and connectivity to large international hubs.
Other long-term strategic goals are to enhance passenger experience and above all, to enable aviation’s climate change transition.
Swedavia is currently carrying out one of the most ambitious development programs yet at Stockholm Arlanda to develop the passenger experience. Constructions are well underway for a new terminal building and main entrance to the airport, combining a new security control with a new commercial area. The new Marketplace, taking shape as we speak, will offer a total of 12,000 sq. metres of shopping, food and other services also including a brand-new, significantly modernised security checkpoint in Terminal 5. The new venues are opening gradually, and the veranda extension is expected to be completed towards the end of the year. When everything is completed, in 2024, Arlanda will be a more modern airport with an expanded and integrated Terminal 5.
Also, being fossil-free in our own operations is just one milestone. Swedavia is leading the way with sustainability on top of our agenda and now, we must focus on initiatives that will drive the development of fossil-free aviation in line with the industry's own roadmap. Next up is the goal that 5% of all fuel refuelled at Swedish airports, should be fossil free by 2025. We are intensifying the work to support other companies and organisations operating at our airports to adapt to more sustainable operations through investments in bio aviation fuel. Already since 2020, Swedavia offer a SAF Incentive, rewarding the use of biofuel and contributing to fund the additional cost for airlines refuelling bio aviation fuel at Swedavia airports. We are also preparing our airports for electric aviation and examines opportunities for hydrogen flights. Another long-term strategic goal is to increase intramodality. At Arlanda intermodality works well, but we strive for increased intermodality at all airports.
What is your main goal in attending Routes World 2022?
Although we had a close dialogue with our customers during the pandemic, which we really appreciate, we have missed being able to meet face to face, it is rewarding to meet in real life!
Our main goal in attending Routes World in 2022 is to nurture existing, and establish new, contacts - which of course we hope eventually leads to business. But also, to meet and exchange experiences and thoughts with the entire aviation community about what is happening in the world. It feels especially important at this time, when we – finally and hopefully – once and for all is emerging from the pandemic with a pent-up demand for travel among both leisure and business travelers, but where the world now looks set to face yet another challenging and unpredictable period.