Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, Lennart Meri Tallinna lennujaam formerly Ülemiste Airport is the largest airport in Estonia and home base of the national airline Estonian Air. Tallinn Airport is open to both domestic and international flights. It is located approximately 4 kilometers from the centre of Tallinn on the eastern shore of Lake Ülemiste.
The airport has a single asphalt-concrete runway that is 3070 meters long and 45 meters wide (large enough to handle wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 747), five taxiways and fourteen terminal gates. Ground handling is provided by Tallinn Airport GH and airBaltic.
The airport has also seen military use as an interceptor aircraft base. It was home to 384 IAP (384th Interceptor Aircraft Regiment) which flew MiG-23P aircraft.
Since March 29, 2009 the airport is officially known as Lennart Meri Tallinn International Airport, in honour of the leader of the Estonian independence movement and second President of Estonia Lennart Meri.
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. Before World War II, Tallinn Airport had regular connections to abroad by at least 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 in 1962. 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 terminal building was completely modernised in 1999 and greatly expanded in 2008.
The airport underwent a large expansion project between January 2006 and September 2008. The terminal was expanded in three directions, resulting in 14 new gates, separate lounges for Schengen and non-Schengen passengers, 10 new check-in desks and a new restaurant and cafes. 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, 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
There are a small number of vendors in the terminal building, including three restaurants, three coffee shops, a duty free shop, cigar lounge, book store, travel shop, gift shop etc.
Passenger facilities provided include: post office, telephone services, free wired/wireless Internet access and a business lounge. Travel agency, currency exchange, cash machines (ATM) and porter services are also available. There are two bus stops at the terminal, one stop in front of the departure area (the bus comes from the city centre) and another one in front of the arrivals area (the bus goes to the city centre).
There is a new public bus line "90K" between the city center and Tallinn airport. Tickets cost 2€ and the line operates from 8:00 to 18:00 every 30 minutes. The route of the bus is:
"Autobussijaam"(The central bus station)
"Hotell Olümpia"(Behind the Estonian Ministry of Foreign affairs, next to the black glass hotel)
"Vabaduse Väljak"(Central square)
"Mere pst."(Near the central post office)
"Balti Jaam"(Railway hub)
"Hotell Tallinn"(Next to Toompea)
"Kunstiakadeemia"(Estonian academy of arts, next to the "Kaubamaja", look for "Kunstiakadeemia in the tunnel)
There is also a bus line "2" operated by MRP which has a schedule on their site. The bus line "2" also travels through the harbor, so if you are coming to Tallinn via air and are going on a cruise, take the bus "2".
Major car rental companies have their offices here: Avis, Sixt, Europcar, Budget Rent A Car, Hertz and National.
Scheduled airlines and destinations
airBaltic Riga, Vilnius [ends 30 October]
Air Europa Seasonal: Barcelona
City Airline Gothenburg-Landvetter
Czech Airlines Prague
EasyJet London-Stansted, Liverpool
Estonian Air Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Jyväskylä [begins 25 March 2012], Kiev-Boryspil, Kuressaare, London-Gatwick, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Oslo-Gardermoen, St Petersburg, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tartu, Trondheim, Vilnius
Seasonal: Barcelona, Berlin-Tegel [ends 30 September], Nice, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Finnair operated by Finncomm Airlines Helsinki [ends 29 October]
Finnair operated by Flybe Nordic Helsinki [begins 30 October]
Flybe operated by Flybe Nordic Oulu [begins 14 November], Stockholm-Bromma [begins 30 October], Tampere [begins 30 October], Turku [begins 13 November], Vaasa [begins 14 November]
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Norwegian Air Shuttle Oslo-Gardermoen
Ryanair Bergamo-Orio al Serio, Bremen, Dublin, London-Luton, Moss-Rygge, Stockholm-Skavsta, Weeze
Seasonal: East Midlands, Edinburgh, Girona, Manchester [begins 26 March 2012]
UTair Aviation Moscow-Vnukovo
Bulgaria Air Seasonal: Burgas, Varna
Estonian Air Seasonal: Antalya, Corfu, Faro, Heraklion, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Trieste, Reykjavik-Keflavik
Iberia Seasonal: Barcelona
Orbest Seasonal: Madrid
AirBridgeCargo Airlines Krasnoyarsk, Moscow
DHL Aviation operated by Exin Helsinki
Jade Cargo International Amsterdam
TNT Airways Malmö, Turku
ULS Airlines Cargo Istanbul
Total passengers using the airport has increased on average by 14.2% annually since 1998. 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 statistics for Tallinn Airport
Year Total Passengers Aircraft movements Total Cargo
1998 563,946 24,951 5,991
1999 550,747 23,590 5,326
2000 559,658 23,358 4,690
2001 573,493 23,633 4,543
2002 605,697 26,226 4,292
2003 715,859 25,294 5,080
2004 997,461 28,149 5,237
2005 1,401,059 33,610 9,937
2006 1,541,832 33,989 10,361
2007 1,728,430 38,844 22,764
2008 1,811,536 41,654 41,867
2009 1,346,236 32,572 21,001
2010 1,384,831 33,587 11,960
Baltic's busiest airports by passenger traffic in 2010
Rank City Airport Passengers (2010)
1. Riga Riga International Airport 4,663,692
2. Tallinn Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport 1,384,831
3. Vilnius Vilnius International Airport 1,373,859
4. Kaunas Kaunas International Airport 809,732
5. Palanga Palanga International Airport 102,528
6 Tartu Tartu Airport 23,504
7. Kuressaare Kuressaare Airport 19,702
8. Kärdla Kärdla Airport 10,551
9. Pärnu Pärnu Airport 5,148
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, 8822 km (5483 miles) from Tallinn. 216 different airlines, flying to/from 372 destinations in the world used the services of Tallinn Airport.
Incidents and accidents
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.
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.