22.07.2013 15:32

The weather factor

We Finns are used to unfavourable winter conditions such as snow and freezing temperatures. Luckily, Finnish airports are famous of snow-how – snow storms that would shut down most airports in Central Europe for days usually only delay our flights a little. Additionally, Finnair pilots are as renowned for their skills – if there is heavy snow fall, and almost all aircrafts are grounded, you can always count on Finnair flights to take off as long as the airport is open.

This summer, we have been blessed with the nicest of summer weathers. Last winter was unusually long, but practically overnight, we went from snow on the ground to temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. Since mid-May, we have been blessed with sun and warmth, and for once, we have exceeded the average amount of summer days defined as hot – temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.

During an average summer, we have eleven hot days in May and June combined. This year we have had more than double resulting in 26 hot days altogether. In the end of May, Lapland – the most northern part of our country – of all places was the hottest spot in the whole Europe for a few days. Add to this the magical northern summer light, the never-setting sun, and you will come to the conclusion that everyone should have spent their vacation in Finland in May and June.

However, this wonderful summer weather has suddenly caused us challenges we hardly ever experience in Helsinki – we get limitation on the aircraft payloads because the weather is too warm. In order to be able to lift off the runway, we have occasionally been forced to unload pallets and move some shipments to other flights.

With summer being a popular vacation period, the flights are more crowded with passengers than during the winter. This poses limitations to the available cargo capacity. Temperature-sensitive shipments can also require more attention than usually as they have to be taken out to the aircraft in the last minute to avoid heating up too much on the tarmac.

At the same time, we are still seeing the effects of the exceptionally cold and long winter. Regular salmon shipments from Norway are smaller than usual as the fish have been growing at a slower rate in consequence of water temperature not reaching favourable levels.

Due to our short summer period, deciding when to take your vacation is a gamble. If you get it right, you can enjoy sun and warmth. If you get it wrong, you are stuck with a rainy period with 15–17 degrees Celsius.

It remains to be seen if I drew the short straw this year myself. Luckily, there is one fine AY airline that can carry me to warmer parts of the world if needed.

Wishing you all a joyful summer!