Copterline to suspend regular flights between Helsinki and Tallinn from today
Waning economic outlook reduced demand
The Finnish helicopter service Copterline is to suspend its regular passenger flights between Helsinki and Tallinn today, Friday, and the staff working on the route will be laid off.
The 8:30 p.m. departure from the Estonian capital is to be the company’s last regular flight to its Hernesaari terminal in Helsinki, if the weather permits.
Copterline CEO Kaj Takolander reported that the decision was made after all efforts to make the operation profitable had failed and the goal of 70,000 passengers per year could not be achieved.
Copterline expanded its regular services between Helsinki and Tallinn only in the autumn, but the cause was soon found to be a hopeless one, amidst weakening demand for seats. Reasons for the failure include the deepening depression, particularly in Estonia.
According to Takolander, the company is now looking for alternative uses for its two helicopters, which cost EUR 10 million each. If no other alternatives can be found, Copterline will either lease or sell off its aircraft.
In Takolander’s view, there were no alternatives for the closure, if the management wanted to rescue the company. Copterline plans to continue its rescue and medical services under existing contracts which will be valid until the summer of 2010.
This is already the second time for Copterline to shut down its regular passenger flights between Helsinki and Tallinn.
The service was suspended for over two years a few months after the disastrous August 2005 helicopter crash outside the Estonian capital Tallinn, which claimed the lives of 14 people.
Copterline resumed regular operations between Helsinki and Tallinn with a new helicopter in the early spring of 2008, and another helicopter was added to the fleet in the autumn of 2008.
Before the regular services were resumed, major changes took place in the company’s management and ownership. The largest single owners are Ilkka Herlin of the elevator company Kone, and the pension insurance company Ilmarinen.
Takolander promised that those passengers who have bought tickets for later flights would be refunded. The company is to contact the clients in the next few days.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Copterline to resume service to Tallinn (6.9.2007)
Loosened servo piston plasma coating confirmed as cause of Copterline crash (8.8.2007)
Fourteen passengers and crew dead after helicopter crashes in the sea off Estonian coast (10.8.2005)
Civil Aviation Authority to look into Copterline oversight (15.8.2008)
Accident investigation board report on fatal 2005 helicopter crash criticises operator Copterline´s safety culture (12.8.2008)
Copterline Flight 103 (Wikipedia)