For Media and Press

Lufthansa's first flight landed in Oulu

Lufthansa's first flight landed in Oulu

Last July, German airline Lufthansa announced that it will start direct scheduled flights between Munich and Oulu in December 2023. The first flight landed at Oulu Airport on December 16th, and passengers arriving from Germany were greeted with a ceremonial welcome.

Photo: The inaugural ribbon was cut by (from left) Petri Vuori, Senior Vice President, Sales and Route Development at Finavia, Mirja Vehkaperä, Chair ot the City Board of Oulu, Patrick Borg Hedley, Lufthansa Group's General Manager in Finland and the Baltic states, and Yrjötapio Kivisaari, CEO of Visit Oulu.

Mirja Vehkaperä, Chair of the City Board of Oulu, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the inaugural flight, said that the direct flight connection opens a new chapter in the development of the region. Vehkaperä emphasised that the connection supports the determined growth of tourism in Oulu and increases the accessibility of our region. In her speech, Vehkaperä thanked Lufthansa for their confidence in Oulu.

- It is great to have an operator like Lufthansa in Oulu. The City of Oulu is very committed to improving accessibility and developing air traffic. Well-functioning connections promote the vitality, business life, and tourism of the area. I would also like to thank Finavia for their close, good cooperation, Vehkaperä says.

Juha Ala-Mursula, Director of BusinessOulu, says that the opening of the connection is based on persistent, long-term work.

- The stakeholders in the area have worked together determinedly to create new route openings, and now we are witnessing the first one. More connections are still needed, and work is being done on them. Yrjötapio Kivisaari, CEO of Visit Oulu, and Juuso Rönnholm, BusinessOulu Public Affairs Manager, have put a lot of effort into establishing contacts with airlines and conducting negotiations lately. This work has been and will be supported by the extensive network of stakeholders in the region. It is wonderful to be able to collaborate with Lufthansa, Ala-Mursula says.

Kivisaari, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, says that the new flight connection is an excellent opening, as Germany is an important country for tourism in the Oulu region.

- A significant proportion of foreign tourists in the region already come from Germany. The new route supports this development brilliantly, and we have worked hard to increase international tourism, says Kivisaari.

Scheduled return flights between Munich and Oulu are operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For the time being, scheduled winter flights will be operated until the end of March, but decisions on the continuation of flights are eagerly awaited.

- Our goal is for the Oulu–Munich route to become a year-round, permanent connection. Lufthansa has not yet taken any decisions on this, and we will, of course, try to do our share. The demand for flights is essential for further decisions. Now it is important that the route is actively used, so that we can continue to benefit from direct connections from Europe and get the competition we need at Oulu Airport, Kivisaari continues.

Much-needed direct link to Central Europe

Munich, one of Germany's largest cities, is a major transport hub. Munich Airport, the Franz Josef Strauß Airport, is the second largest airport in Germany and the seventh largest in Europe, with good connecting flights around the world for business and leisure travellers alike. The city also has excellent rail connections to other major German cities and the rest of Central Europe.

From the perspective of leisure tourists from Oulu, the Bavarian region is diverse: there are alpine landscapes, castles, and atmospheric villages. As a travel destination, Munich is known for its Christmas markets and events, such as the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, as well as the Bayern München football club. Even the Alps are only a couple of hours away by train.

Munich is also a major international centre of business. The Munich region is home to numerous large international companies, including the headquarters of BMW, Siemens, and Allianz, as well as the European headquarters of Microsoft. The route offers new opportunities to boost the competitiveness of companies operating in our region also when it comes to air freight.