The German airline Lufthansa will begin direct flights between Munich and the European Capital of Culture 2026, Oulu in December 2023. Round trip route flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 16. December onwards. Route flights for the winter will be available through to the end of March.
Yrjötapio Kivisaari, Managing Director of Oulun Matkailu Oy, says that the opening of the new flight connection is the culmination of a long-term effort:
“Oulun Matkailu Oy and BusinessOulu have been systematically negotiating and working on the route's opening for a year and a half. We have met Lufthansa representatives several times in Finland and abroad. Finavia has also taken part in the negotiations."
The new flight connection is expected to boost winter tourism in the Oulu region. This winter, about 4,000 new German tourists are expected to visit the region.
"Hotel occupancy rates in Oulu are low, particularly in January and February, hovering between thirty to forty percent. With the new flight connection, we will see a desired increase in hotel occupancy rates during off-peak periods," says Kivisaari.
German travel operators, for instance, which currently provide trips in the Kemi and Rovaniemi regions, and the new route will allow greater versatility in collaboration with these companies. German visitors to northern Finland can have a more diverse winter experience by travelling the Pohjola Route and exploring the Oulu region. For Germans, the aircraft link to Oulu serves as the entryway to winter tourism north to the frozen sea.
Prior to the establishment of the new route, Norwegians were the most numerous international visitors to Oulu, but it is now expected that Germans will outnumber them.
“Oulu is finally on our route map! We have been working hard to fill this “white spot” on our Finland destination map for many months. This is the perfect time to launch a route to Oulu and back, and it will fit in perfectly with other Lutfhansa Group routes," says Patrick Borg Hedley, General Manager Finland and Baltic states for Lufthansa Group airlines.
The new route connects Oulu with the heart of Europe.
According to BusinessOulu Director Juha Ala-Mursula, “this is a historic breakthrough that will provide Oulu Region businesses with access to the vital German markets and, more broadly, Central Europe."
Munich is a prominent international business centre and one of Germany's most economically important cities. Munich is home to a number of major international companies, including the European headquarters of BMW, Siemens, Allianz and Microsoft. In terms of air freight, the new route will offer competitive options for regional industries.
Munich is also a major transport hub. Munich Airport, Franz Josef Strauß Airport, is the second largest airport in Germany and the seventh largest airport in Europe, with excellent connections for business and leisure travellers to the rest of the world. Additionally, the city has superb rail connections to other important cities in Germany and Central Europe.
Bavaria is a diverse region with alpine panoramas, castles, and dramatic cities, all easily accessible to tourists flying from Oulu. Christmas markets, the Oktoberfest beer festival, and the FC Bayern München football team all contribute to Munich's popularity as a travel destination. It only takes a few hours by train to reach the Alps from the city.
Lufthansa flights between Oulu and Munich will go on sale on July 18.
Oulun Matkailu Oy and BusinessOulu are hoping that passengers start booking flights as soon as possible. The route's continuation for next summer will be decided this autumn, before the flights begin. Kivisaari states that the route's profitability will be measured as the route launches:
"It is our hope that the route's success would ensure its continuation and encourage summer visitors to the Oulu region. In the future, the connection would also allow business and leisure passengers flying from Oulu to travel to Europe."
The new air link is expected to increase competition and enhance passenger numbers at Oulu airport, which have declined since the epidemic years. The goal is to preserve Oulu Airport as the second busiest airport in Finland.
"The route's launch is fantastic news for Oulu Airport, which continues to play an essential role in Finavia's airport network and Finland's accessibility. Lufthansa's route to Central Europe will greatly increase the access of the residents of Oulu region to the world, connecting them to Munich Airport's extensive route network. According to Petri Vuori, Finavia's Director of Route Development, "The route also opens up a new link for tourism northwards from Germany."
For additional information, please contact Yrjötapio Kivisaari (CEO, Oulu Travel Marketing Ltd // p. +358 40 546 6283, email. [email protected]), Juha Ala-Mursula (CEO, BusinessOulu // p. +358 40 559 2030, email. [email protected]) and Boris Ogursky (Media Relations, Lufthansa Group // p. +49 69 696 / -69006 or /-2999, email. [email protected]).
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