Avinor, which manages 46 airports in Norway, has announced that it will scale up efforts to better connect Oslo and Norway with the Asian continent.
Oslo Airport is an important communications hub in Norway with approximately 24 million travellers and more than 235,000 aircraft movements per year.
Avinor has appointed Mr. Ulv Elbirk in a consultant role as the new Director Asia Route Development to help grow those numbers, benefitting from Asian tourism and business demand.
Mr. Elbirk will be based in Hong Kong and tasked with attracting direct air routes from large destinations in Asia predominantly to the main hub at Oslo airport, which is also one of the largest gateways into Scandinavia. He comes to Avinor with solid aviation experience and extensive contacts at Asian airlines, having worked more than eight and a half years at Copenhagen Airport’s airlines sales team.
When tourists from Asia visit Scandinavia, we know that they spend more time in Norway than the other parts of the Scandinavian countries. As tourism flows from Asia are projected to grow unabated in the next many decades ahead, we think it makes sense to focus even more on Asia,” says Oslo Airport Managing Director, Mr. Øyvind Hasaas.
Avinor reports that large numbers of Asian tourists are already visiting Norway to experience the beautiful Fjords, the northern lights, and the vibrant capital, Oslo.
“Oslo Airport is the most modern and efficient hub airport in Scandinavia, and we are investing heavily in expanding our truly world-class facilities to accommodate the growing number of passengers and airline companies flying into the Norwegian capital. Norway has a very strong potential to further strengthen the inbound tourism from not least the Asian markets and I believe this is the right next step for Avinor,” says Avinor CEO Dag Falk-Petersen.
Business Opportunities in Asia
Avinor hopes that with his new route development efforts, the Norwegian business community will benefit through quicker access to Asia’s major cities, especially in Northeast Asia where there is “massive demand” to ease the transport links and cut travel time.
New services to Asia would also benefit Norway’s fishing industry with “huge amounts of seafood exports” shipped from Norway to Asia every week.
Right now, salmon–which is particularly in demand–is trucked to other European airports for onward shipping by air. Avinor believes that for Asian airlines the freight and carriage of popular fish can be an important boost to passenger demand, ensuring the route’s profitability. Avinor is confident that cargo demand would be sufficient to fit the whole cargo space on a passenger aircraft.
Set to Grow
“I am very delighted to become a part of this team and indeed Avinor and am looking very much forward to be working for a company with such a strong ambition and will to succeed in advancing Norway’s access to Asia. Norway is probably one of the last underserved markets in Europe. With vast inbound potential routes- Oslo can become a goldmine for especially Asian carriers,” states Ulv Elbirk.