|IATA: TLL – ICAO: EETN|
|Operator||Tallinn Airport Ltd|
|Elevation AMSL||131 ft / 40 m|
Statistics from Tallinn Airport Ltd.
Tallinn Airport (Estonian: Tallinna lennujaam, IATA: TLL, ICAO: EETN) or Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport (Estonian: Lennart Meri Tallinna lennujaam) is the largest airport in Estonia and was the home base of the now defunct national airline Estonian Air. Tallinn Airport is open to both domestic and international flights. It is located approximately 4 km from the centre of Tallinn on the eastern shore of Lake Ülemiste. It was formerly known as Ülemiste Airport.
The airport has a single asphalt-concrete runway that is 3070 metres long and 45 metres wide (large enough to handle wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 747), five taxiways and fourteen terminal gates. Since 29 March 2009 the airport is officially known as Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, in honour of the leader of the Estonian independence movement and second President of Estonia Lennart Meri.
The airport has also been used for military purposes. It has served as an interceptor aircraft base, being home to the 384th Interceptor Aircraft Regiment (384 IAP), which operated MiG-23P aircraft.
- 1 History
- 2 Terminals
- 3 Aviation services
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Accolades
- 7 Ground transportation
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Prior to the establishment of the present airport in Ülemiste area, Lasnamäe Airfield was the primary airport of Tallinn, serving as a base for Aeronaut airline. After Aeronaut went bankrupt in 1928, air service was continued by Deruluft, which used Nehatu instead, 12 kilometres from the centre of Tallinn. The first seaplane harbour on the shores of Lake Ülemiste was built 1928 to 1929 in order to serve Finnish seaplanes. The use of this harbour ended in World War II. On 26 March 1929 Riigikogu passed an expropriation act in order to establish a public airport. 10 ha of land was expropriated from Dvigatel joint-stock company and another 22 ha was expropriated from descendants of Vagner. 10 million sents were paid to land-owners as indemnity. Land leveling and renovation works took another 5 million sents. The building of Tallinn Airport started in 1932, and the airport was opened officially on 20 September 1936, although it had been operational a good while before the official opening. The total cost of the project, including the cost of building flight hangars, was 25 million sents. The runways of the first stage were about 40 metres wide and 300 metres long. As they were arranged in a form of a triangle, they allowed take-offs and landings in six directions. Before World War II, Tallinn Airport had regular connections to abroad by at least Aerotransport (now part of the SAS Group), Deutsche Luft Hansa, LOT and the Finnish company Aero (now Finnair).
Between 1945 and 1989, Aeroflot was the only airline that served Tallinn Airport.
Regular flights with jet aircraft began on 2 October 1962 with a maiden passenger flight from Moscow for then newest Soviet airliner Tu-124. A new terminal building was built in the late 1970s and the runway was also lengthened then. The first foreign airline since World War II to operate regular flights from Tallinn was SAS in the autumn of 1989.
The construction works of the first cargo terminal (Cargo 1), located in the middle of future cargo area on the north side of the airport, were carried out from September 1997 until March 1998. The passenger terminal building was completely modernised in 1999, increasing its capacity to 1.4 million passengers per year and after that greatly expanded in 2008. The growing demand for extra space for cargo operations, created a situation were there was need for cargo terminal expansion, Cargo 2. In order to meet the growing demand for new cargo facilities at Tallinn Airport, the number of cargo terminals was later expanded to four. In year 2012 a new aircraft maintenance hangar was opened and a number of passengers passed two million mark the first time in the history of the airport. On 11 January 2013 the airport was accepted into Airport Carbon Accreditation emission managing and reduction programme by ACI. The year 2013 saw an introduction of an automatic border control system and a start of construction of a new business aviation hangar complex.
The airport underwent a large expansion project between January 2006 and September 2008. The terminal was expanded in three directions, resulting in 18 new gates, separate lounges for Schengen and non-Schengen passengers, 10 new check-in desks and a new restaurant and cafes. Due to the gallery that connects all the gates and was constructed in the middle of the terminal building the terminal became T-shaped. The projecting terminal section enables a two-level traffic for international passengers. The renewed terminal has nine passenger bridges. The extensions constructed at the ends of the terminal building became additional rooms for registering for the flights and for delivering arriving luggage. Outside the terminal, the apron was refurbished and expanded and a new taxiway was added. The new terminal allows the airport to handle twice as many passengers as it could handle before.
After the death of former president of Estonia Lennart Meri on 14 March 2006, journalist Argo Ideon from Eesti Ekspress proposed to honor the president's memory by naming Tallinn Airport after him – "Tallinna Lennart Meri Rahvusvaheline Lennujaam" (Lennart Meri International Airport), drawing parallels with JFK Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Istanbul-Atatürk Airport etc. Ideon's article also mentioned the fact that Meri himself had shown concern for the condition of the then Soviet-era construction (in one memorable case Meri, having arrived from Japan, led the group of journalists that were expecting him, to the airport's toilets to do the interview there, in order to point out the shoddy condition of the facilities).
The name change was discussed at a board meeting on 29 March 2006, and on the opening of the new terminal on 19 September 2008, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip officially announced the renaming would take place in March 2009
Baltic Sea cruise turnarounds
In 2011 a new project of cruise turnarounds was launched in cooperation with Tallinn Passenger Port and Happy Cruises. More than 7,000 Spanish passengers travelled that year on charter flights to and from Tallinn Airport. As the airport is located only 5 km from the city center cruise quay, transfer time from airport to cruise ship is under an hour.
In 2012, Pullmantur Air started its charter operations from Madrid-Barajas Airport with three Airbus 321s and two to three Boeing 747s. During the summer 2012 about 16,000 tourists were transferred. The company continued operations in 2013, transferring 25,000 tourists in five turnarounds, as well as there was one partial turnaround operation for the cruise ship MS Deutschland operated by Peter Deilmann Cruises.
In 2015, cruise tourists are attended to by four airlines – Iberia, Iberia Express, Wamos Air, and Vueling. Some 5,000 passengers are expected during three turnarounds for Pullmantur Cruises cruise line.
Future expansion plans
According to Erik Sakkov, board member of Tallinn Airport, the future plans include expanding the runway by 600–700 metres to serve regular long-haul flights, also building of a brand-new taxiway, new storage facilities, a new point-to-point terminal and expansion of the existing passenger terminal, so it can serve arriving and departing passengers on two different levels. On 21 February 2013 the environmental impact assessment of the airport development project started. The project includes the runway lengthening by 720 metres, installation of the ILS Category II equipment, also lengthening of the existing northern taxiway till the end of the expanded runway, constructing of a whole new taxiway and a new apron area on the southern side of the airport, installation of the new perimeter security systems and constructing of an engine test facility and dedicated snow storage and de-icing areas. Among other benefits the extension would enable planes to fly higher above the city of Tallinn by moving threshold of the runway further from Lake Ülemiste, thus reducing noise level. The public discussion of the runway extension environmental effects evaluation report took place on December 16, 2013 and the construction work to extend the runway should start in 2015. On 12 June 2013 the City Administration of Tallinn approved a detailed planning for a 0.91 ha land plot, on which a new 4,430 m2 (47,680 sq ft) maintenance hangar is going to be built. Total five-year investment plan amounts of more than 100 million euros. The airport is investing €126 million during the 2015–2021 period. The most important project is the reconstruction of the runway infrastructure at cost of €75 million. Additional investment of €2.5 million would be made in flight terminal in order to change its layout and improve the terminal's security, capacity and VIP area. А multi-storey car park would be built due to the consistently increasing need for parking spots around the airport. Work on the task and procurement conditions of the parking structure began in 2014. It will be located in front of the passenger terminal and should be completed in 2017 according to current plans.
Demise of Estonian Air
On 7 Nov 2015, Estonian Air was liquidated following an adverse decision by the European Commission. This meant a significant temporary loss of business for the airport, as Estonian Air had been the largest carrier, accounting for ⅓ of all capacity in 2014.
Airport museum and activity centre
In coming years the airport museum and activity centre will be established on the grounds of the airport. It would be dedicated to the history of development of Estonian airports. The museum will be located in a small building near the terminal, also a relatively large area nearby will be transformed into open-air exhibition. Two ancient cult stones, which are necessary to move during the expansion of the runway, will be transferred to that exhibition. The whole museum plot will be separated from the airfield. The museum will have a direct access from E263 motorway (shares the same route with Estonian main road 2). Additionally, a platform with a view onto the runway will be constructed, giving good possibilities for aircraft spotting. The activity centre will be opened in 2016.
There are one passenger terminal and four cargo terminals at the airport. As the airport's current facilities could not serve more than 2.5 million passengers per year and the number of passengers is rapidly growing (38.2% in year 2011), the new terminal for discount airlines will be built.
Estonian EXPO Center year-round permanent exhibition is located near the Gate 3, acting as a live advertising space where promotion representatives introduce the companies taking part in the exhibition and help finding cooperation partners in particular fields of business. The center was opened on 22 July 2010. VKG has opened an oil shale themed exposition at Gate 4 on 9 January 2013, showing the history and development of Estonian oil shale industry. The Estonian Tourist Board has opened a brand new "Visit Estonia" themed exposition at Gate 5 on 2 October 2013. The gate is divided into three parts: a children's territory with a Lotte-themed playhouse, an interactive, informative waiting area decorated with Estonian national patterns and a bridge from the gate to the airplane that introduces travellers to Estonian nature.
Passenger facilities provided include: post office, telephone services, Skype phone booth, free Internet kiosks, free wireless Internet access, sleeping pods, left luggage storage, clothes storage service and baggage wrapping service. Travel agencies, currency exchange, cash machines (ATM) and porter services are also available. Travellers visiting Latvia, Lithuania and Norway, have a possibility to rent a tablet computer. A lending library was open on 9 May 2013 in a special area by Gate 1. All books were donated by public including Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves and the First Lady of Estonia Evelin Ilves. The library will have books in ten different languages, the majority being in Estonian, Russian and English. There will also be a selection of children's books. On 16 August 2013 Tallinn Airport unveiled a gallery and started exhibiting artists' work in the Passenger Terminal. The gallery of rotating exhibitions on the 1st floor of the Passenger Terminal is open to all arriving and departing passengers as well as those seeing them off or meeting them.
There are three bus stops at the terminal, which are located on level 0 in front of the arrivals area.
On 1 September 2013 the airport opened an automatic border control system, that should accelerate procedures for passengers travelling out of the Schengen area. The fully automated border crossing system consists of two automated gates and six registering kiosks.
Nordea Lounge services business class passengers of Aeroflot, Air Baltic, Estonian Air, Finnair, Flybe, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Rossiya Airlines, SAS and UTAir, as well as Priority Pass, Airport Angel (including owners of the Diners Club card) and members of the Metropolis loyalty programme. Nordea Lounge is situated in the closed area of the passenger terminal. Standard passengers can also buy a single entrance ticket to Nordea Lounge, if there are free seats. Previously business passengers were serviced by Linda Lounge, which was located in the closed area of the passenger terminal next to gate 7.
Additional Tallinn Airport GH check-in terminal is located at the Radisson Blu Hotel Tallinn. Travellers can check in online and print boarding cards directly from the lobby. The system allows to check in 24 hours before departure and choose own specific seat.
Point-to-point terminal (Terminal 2)
On 12 April 2012 Tallinn Airport announced, that it will build next year a new five-berth terminal for low-cost airlines, which will be easily removable and extendable. The new terminal would be intended for low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet and Norwegian that do not want to pay that much to the airport and do not need many airport services.
The new terminal is intended for the service of one million passengers and the space liberated from low-cost airlines would pass into the disposition of Estonian Air and other traditional airlines, such as Lufthansa, SAS, LOT and Finnair.
Business aviation hangar complex
On 20 March 2013 the airport authorities announced a public procurement for constructing a new hangar complex. The cornerstone of the new complex was laid on 27 September 2013. It has a surface area of 5,230 m2 (56,300 sq ft), is located right next to the existing General Aviation Terminal and will be servicing aircraft within a distance of up to 3,000 kilometers from Tallinn. The complex is intended for accommodating a total of nine planes, eight of them are mid-size business jets and one aircraft the size of a large corporate aircraft. It consists of five hangars: the Hangar 1 for the large aircraft (such as Boeing 737, Airbus A318 or Airbus A319), hangars 2 to 5 are intended for smaller business jets (Bombardier Challenger 605, Learjet 60). The whole complex was opened on 15 April 2014 and its operator is Panaviatic, which is going to expand its business jet operations from Tallinn Airport. Apart from providing hangarage for business jets, the new complex also offers MRO services by Panaviatic’s subsidiary AS Panaviatic Maintenance. The total investment was close to 5 million euros and the whole complex is the largest in the Baltic states.
Tallinn Airport has 4 cargo terminals with total warehouse space of ca 5000 m². The size of warehouse in Cargo 1 is 3601 m² and 2066 m² are dedicated for the office area. Cargo terminal is operated by different operators (including integrators) and Tallinn Airport Ltd. only acts as a lessor. The size of Cargo 2 warehouse is 1255 m² and 758 m² are dedicated for office space. Cargo 2 is operated by TNT Express Worldwide. Other logistics operators include DHL, UPS and FedEx.
Ground handling services are handled by Tallinn Airport GH. In year 2010, Finnair named Tallinn Airport GH as the most punctual ground handling service provider for its planes in Europe and the third best in the world, and in year 2013 Lufthansa named the passenger and aircraft ground handling provided by Tallinn Airport GH the most punctual in the world, giving also the second time the SHOOTING STAR title, which is awarded to airports employing the most up-to-date solutions for checking in for flights.
Aircraft maintenance services
Magnetic MRO has its facilities and headquarters on the airport property. On 6 September 2012 the company opened a new 5,000 m2 (53,820 sq ft) column-free three-bay hangar for Base Maintenance works of narrow-body aircraft, such as Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. The company has in total three main Base Maintenance lines, and two additional lines for lighter checks and modification works. With the addition of the new hangar, the maximum annual line maintenance capacity of the company boosted to 72 aircraft from the present 24. Magnetic MRO said the new hangar will allow it carry out a planned doubling of its workforce.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate scheduled and charter passenger flights to and from Tallinn:
Total passengers using the airport has increased on average by 14.2% annually since 1998. On 16 November 2012 Tallinn Airport has reached two million passenger landmark for the first time in its history. Passenger data reflects international and domestic flights combined, share of domestic flights compared to international flights was marginal. Passenger and cargo numbers exclude direct transit.
Annual passenger numbers
|Year||Total Passengers||Aircraft movements||Total Cargo|
|Updated: 11 January 2015|
2011 / 12
2010 / 11
2009 / 10
|1 (1)||Finland, Helsinki||193,678||184,762||4.8||147,945||24.9||149,390||1|
|2 (2)||Latvia, Riga||184,072||173,768||5.9||150,024||15.8||154,742||3|
|3 (4)||Sweden, Stockholm (all)||177,227||145,964||21.4||115,046||26.9||112,861||1.9|
|4 (3)||United Kingdom, London (all)||130,340||161,423||19.3||84,329||91.4||99,864||15.6|
|5 (5)||Denmark, Copenhagen||123,966||133,101||6.9||140,997||5.6||142,449||1|
Busiest airports by passenger traffic in the Baltic States
Tallinn Airport handled 1,811,536 passengers in 2008 which is 4.8% more than in 2007.
Also 41,654 aircraft movements (7% growth) and 41,867 tonnes of mail and freight (84% growth compared to 2007) were handled in 2008.
83% of passengers were flying on scheduled flights, 17% on non-scheduled flights. The most popular holiday destinations proved to be resorts in Egypt, Turkey, Spain and Greece, whilst furthest long-haul charter destinations included India and Thailand.
The most popular scheduled destinations were Helsinki, London, Copenhagen and Oslo. Two new destinations—Minsk and Munich were introduced in 2008, as well as a seasonal route to Rome (by Estonian Air).
The busiest days were 27 June, when 7103 passengers passed through the airport's premises and 6 June when 172 aircraft movements (86 flights) were handled. The biggest aircraft served at Tallinn Airport, Boeing 747-400, weighed 413 tonnes, while the smallest ultralight had the maximum take-off weight of just 270 kg (600 lb). The furthest destination was San Jose in US California, 8,822 km (5,482 mi) from Tallinn. 216 different airlines, flying to/from 372 destinations in the world used the services of Tallinn Airport.
|2012||EURO ANNIE ‘Airport Growth Award’
|1–2 million passengers||Won|||
|2013||Design Management Europe Award
by DME Award
|Award for the best management of design in a public or non-profit organisation||Honourable mention|||
|2015||Best Airport Award
by ACI EUROPE
|under 5 million passenger||Silver|||
There are three bus stops on floor 0, which serve the airport. From bus stop 1, bus route "2" departs towards the city centre. From stop 2, long-distance buses depart from as well as arrive to Tallinn. Public bus "2", which goes in the direction of Mõigu, is served by the bus stop 3, as well as the bus line "65".
- public bus line "2", operated by MRP, which connects the airport with the city centre.
- public bus line "65", operated by MRP, which connects the airport with Lasnamäe district.
Tallinn AirportShuttle share taxi provides a connection from Tallinn Airport to any location in Tallinn. The bus operates seven days a week and the ticket costs €7 to any place within city limits of Tallinn.
- intercity bus line "Täistunniekspress" (English: "Hourlyexpress"), operated by Lux Express, departs from Tallinn to Tartu hourly every day of the week from 7:05 to 20:05. "Täistunniekspress" from Tartu arrives at Tallinn Airport hourly every day of the week from 9:20 to 22:20
- intercity bus line "158", operated by SEBE, stops at the airport at 23:05 every day of the week and departs from Tallinn to Tartu. The bus stops at Kose crossroad and the Mäo and Puhu crossroads.
Starting from 8 February 2013 a self-service ticket machine can be used at Tallinn Airport to purchase tickets to buses going to Tartu, passing Tallinn Airport en route, according to their schedule. Card payments and credits, available under client contracts, are accepted. It is also possible to print from the self-service machine previously purchased tickets using mobile phone or the Internet.
There are plans to built a direct tram connection between the airport and tram network of Tallinn in the future. At the end of 2015 a construction of the 100-metre long Ülemiste tram tunnel will start beneath the Tallinn-Narva railway and the whole connection is expected to be ready at the end of 2017 at cost of €20 million.
The nearest station is Ülemiste train station, which lies about 800 metres from the airport, near Ülemiste Keskus. It provides access to regional rail and commuter rail lines of Elron. The station and Tallinn Airport are connected through the bus "65".
The airport is accessed by highway (which shares the same route with Estonian national road 2).
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport offers four car parking facilities, three of them are short-term parking areas and one is a long-term parking area.
Incidents and accidents
- On 20 February 1993 Aeroflot Flight 2134, a Tupolev Tu-134 flying from Tyumen to St. Petersburg, was hijacked during a domestic flight by a hijacker demanded to be taken to the USA. As there were not enough fuel, he initially demanded to be taken to Helsinki, but agreed to land in Tallinn Airport. After the landing and five and half hours of negotiations 30 passengers were released. The plane then departed and next landed to Stockholm Arlanda Airport, where the hijacker, who was accompanied by his wife and child, peacefully surrendered to Swedish authorities.
- On 24 November 1994 an Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134 flying from Syktyvkar Airport to Pulkovo Airport was hijacked by group of three hijackers, who demanded to be taken to Denmark. They surrendered after landing in Tallinn Airport and several hours of negotiations.
- On 10 February 2003 an Enimex Antonov An-28 crashed while heading to Helsinki Airport during a regular cargo flight. The aircraft banked right during climb and crashed nose down into some trees shortly after takeoff, 300 metres from Tallinn Airport. The aircraft involved was ES-NOY. The captain and first officer were killed during the crash, while a flight engineer was injured.
- On 27 March 2006 an Airest Let L-410UVP-E20C caught fire while standing in Tallinn Airport. The aircraft involved was ES-LLG, it received substantial damage, but was later repaired. No injuries were reported.
- On 18 March 2010 an Exin Antonov An-26 aircraft made an emergency landing on the frozen Lake Ülemiste, close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Initial reports indicated problems with the landing gear and one of the engines. The flight was operated by Exin on behalf of DHL. The aircraft involved was SP-FDO and the flight had departed from Helsinki Airport. Two of the six crew members were injured. The wrecked plane was later towed to the parking position near the main taxiway and used for rescue trainings until 5 June 2015, when it was partly disassembled and transferred to the search and rescue school in Väike-Maarja. The airport plans to buy another used plane to continue trainings on site.
- On 25 August 2010 an Exin Antonov An-26 aircraft made an emergency landing on the runway of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Initial reports indicated problems with the landing gear during takeoff. The flight was being operated by Exin on behalf of DHL. The aircraft involved was SP-FDP and the flight was scheduled to fly to Helsinki Airport. None of the four crew members were injured.
- On 8 February 2013 an ULS Airlines Cargo Airbus A300B4 aircraft skidded off the taxiway during taxiing following a normal landing. All flight operations were cancelled for two and a half hours, except those of planes with shortened takeoff and landing capability, which do not require the whole length of the runway and were cleared for takeoff. Planes en route to Tallinn were redirected to Helsinki and Riga. The aircraft involved was TC-KZV and the flight had departed from Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen Airport. No injuries were reported.
- On 14 August 2014 an Estonian Air Bombardier CRJ900NG aircraft made an emergency landing on the runway of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. The plane, carrying 86 people, was forced to land at Tallinn Airport shortly after take off because of left hand main gear tyre was blown on takeoff at 18:10. After airport crews scoured the runway and found tire debris, the pilots were alerted. After burning off most of its fuel, the plane touched down with incident in Tallinn at around 20:30. The aircraft involved was ES-ACC and the flight was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. No injuries were reported.
- On 11 July 2015 at 5:12 a.m. EEST (02:12 UTC) an Aviastar-TU Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft blew two of its right hand main gear tyres after landing on the runway of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. The flight had departed from Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport. No injuries and damage to the runway were reported. The plane was towed to a parking position for repair works.
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- List of the busiest airports in the former USSR
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Media related to Tallinn Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Tallinn Airport GH official website
- AIP Estonia EETN AD 2 Tallinn – information from AIP Estonia (.pdf)
- Estonia air transport infrastructure (.pdf)
- Accident history for TLL at Aviation Safety Network
- Current weather for EETN at NOAA/NWS