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City news, 26.05.2003 16:30

Lappeenranta airport to serve as St. Petersburg's airport during jubilee

Lappeenranta to serve as St. Petersburg's airport during jubilee The Finnish town of Lappeenranta's airport will become a spare runway for Pulkovo airport during St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary celebrations. Due to the number of foreign heads of state that President Vladimir Putin has invited to a forthcoming summit in St. Petersburg, Pulkovo airport will be closed to 'lesser mortals' for four days. From Friday to Sunday 3,000 tourists, mainly from Paris, will travel to St. Petersburg via Lappeenranta. A Russian tour operator will deliver them to and from St. Petersburg by coach.

'This will be a major responsibility for us, as we have never handled so many passengers over a two-day period before,' said Jouko Kuronen, the head of Lappeenranta airport, in an interview with the STT news agency. He added that Lappeenranta would be handling up to 11 charter flights on each day, as well as regular flights.

'If the planes stick to the agreed schedule, there will be no overlap with regular flights, but nevertheless, we are taking all necessary precautionary measures,' said Kuronen.

As the flights will all be within the Schengen Zone, there will be no passport or customs procedures at Lappeenranta airport. The tourists will only have to show their passports at the Russian border.

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