Murmansk International airport Ivalo
IVALO: Passengers from Murmansk find it attractive to cross the border to Finland and Norway when flying to European destinations. Border crossings between Russia and Lapland have increased with 41 percent so far this year.
Ivalo and Kirkenes airports are both hours of driving from Murmansk, but are still popular among Russians heading to destinations in Europe. Cheaper tickets and more convenient flight-connections from Helsinki and Oslo to European cities are the reason.
You easily see the popularity of using Kirkenes and Ivalo airports by taking a look at the parking spots outside the terminal buildings. Cars with RUS and 51, the registration number for Murmansk, are lined up.
Low-fare airline Norwegian has flights to the capitals from both Kirkenes and Ivalo, and has forced both Finnair and SAS to reduce their ticket prices.
The boosting traffic across the borders from the Kola Peninsula to northern Norway and Finnish Lapland can be read from the statistics at the passport control check-points. Earlier this week, BarentsObserver reported about the 20 percent increase over the Norwegian, Russian border so far this year. The increase between Kola and Lapland is twice as big, 41 percent.
In total over Salla and Raja-Jooseppi check-points, 226,825 border crossings took place in the first eight mounts this year, up from 160,345 the same period last year. The statistics are posted at the portal of the Finnish Boarder Guards. Murmansk travelers to Ivalo drive over Raja-Jooseppi, while travelers towards Rovaniemi use Salla.
84,452 border crossings were counted at Raja-Jooseppi, up 29,307 since the same eight months period in 2011. Salla had 142,373 so far this year, up from 105,200 border crossings from January to August last year.