East or west, Arctic Airlink is home
Ingress/summary: (Tromsø municipality’s International Advisor says Arctic Airlink has eased her ability to visit her family in Luleå, and her work. She talks to Arctic Airlink about how the airline will boost business and tourism in the region).
In 2011 Maria Östensson, decided it was time for something new and moved to Tromsø in northern Norway. Born and raised in Sweden, she took up a job as International Advisor at Tromsø municipality, and is currently on maternity leave.
Maria’s family live in Luleå, northern Sweden. She has settled in in Tromsø with her boyfriend, Jon and their four month old daughter.
“Tromsø is compared to other cities as small, a bit smaller than Luleå, but fantastic in so many ways. It is the capital of northern Norway,” says Maria, adding, “There is a lot of culture, festivals, and cultural events all through the year.”
She adds that Tromsø is a multicultural city with up to 146 different nationalities. And, people there are very friendly and accepting, and this makes it easy for one to integrate.
“People here are laid back and likes to hang out a lot. The city is lively with many cafés and it’s possible to go out every day of the week if you like.” Says Maria, adding that the city of Trömsø has a spectacular landscape.
The skiing there is fantastic and people take peak tours all year round. Peak tours in Tromsø involve hiking uphill and downhill mountain peaks. And people collect summits through the year.
Maria was on the pioneer flight from Luleå to Tromsø early this year and has now become a regular traveller with Arctic Airlink.
For four years she had to endure a cumbersome journey by car from Tromsö to Luleå to visit visit her parents.
“The journey between the two cities took me up to 12 hours before. It took a lot of time and was very exhausting. I would arrive in Luleå quite late.”
Why Arctic Airlink
Maria chooses to travel with Arctic Airlink because she thinks it very convenient while travelling with her baby and saves time. The journey takes one hour.
“I reach Luleå during the day and it is perfect!” She says, “The flight is definitely my first choice of going around the two cities (Luleå and Tromsø) and Oulu in northern Finland. It is simply the best option.”
Maria lauds the service on the flight as great and very professional. Also, she thinks it is nice to be served free coffee with cookies or a sandwich within that one hour flight.
According to Maria, northern Norwegians have a special relationship with northern Sweden. Most of them have had this relationship since their childhood because they have travelled to Sweden a lot during the summer.
“The summer in northern Norway can be very cold, so they move to Sweden. They love the summers and the shopping in Luleå!”
A link to business ventures
The airline has become an ideal means of transport for people and companies to commute between the three cities for work.
“The journey in between the cities is short and one has a possibility to have a full working day while using it. You do not spend all day just to get there.” Says Maria, adding that Arctic Airlink is one of the key tools to develop the Barents region further.
She says there is a lot of development going on in the region as well as various business and employment opportunities in the three cities. Giving an example of the University Hospital in Tromsø which employs several Swedes and Finns, she says it is vital to exchange competence and experience between the three countries now that there is an easy means of transport.
“We really need to look beyond the borders and at the possibilities in the region. Tromsø has cooperation with Oulu and intends to do more with Luleå. Trömsø has a sister city agreement with Luleå city to build on.” She adds, and that Tromsø municipality plans on strengthening this cooperation through interactions on the business side and at the political level. And, this will continue after the municipality elections this fall.
“It makes it so much easier to cooperate and have meetings when we can use Arctic Airlink. The plane is big enough for business groups to reach the cities.” Says Maria.
Maria Östensson asserts the airline is a solid foundation for promoting relationships and tourism between the cities. It is perfect for private people because there are several activities and wonders to see in the three cities.
“I talked to a British woman on the flight between Luleå and Trömsø around Easter. She was very excited by the spectacular sights in our cities and about the prospect of being able to visit all the three cities.” Says Maria.
She says flying with the airline is an entertainment too as she gets a great view of various places from the sky because the plane flies at a lower altitude.
“It is so beautiful to fly into Tromsø! From the plane, one can clearly see the Lyngen Alps (Norwegian Alps). And then when about to land in Luleå, one is marvelled by Luleå’s hidden secret- the islands (Luleå Archipelago).”
(The Luleå archipelago consists of over 1200 islands, and most of them are uninhabited are ideal for short walks. Most people that visit them are day trippers. One can reach these by boat from Södra Hamn (South Harbour) in Luleå to get there).