The high-speed Allegro train between Helsinki and St Petersburg is entering service on 12 December 2010, cutting travel time between the cities to just three and a half hours. Two daily services will run from both cities, increasing to four daily services by summer 2011.
The impact of the fast rail connection may also become visible in the increasing use of the Helsinki-Vantaa airport by Russian customers flying to European destinations. In the future, Helsinki-Vantaa could become St Petersburg’s secondary airport thanks to its convenient location, according to Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. Compared to the congested St Petersburg airport, Helsinki-Vantaa also offers a smoother customer experience.
Even if a fraction of the people using St Petersburg airport started using the Finnish route to Europe, this would have a significant impact on the number of people flying from Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Lappeenranta’s airport is also set to benefit from the fast train connection, which will further boost the number of Russian customers already using the airport.
Sources: VR, Helsingin Sanomat