|Operator||Tallinn Airport Ltd|
|Elevation AMSL||131 ft / 40 m|
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 serves as a hub for the national airline Nordica, as well as the secondary hub for AirBaltic and LOT Polish Airlines. It was also the home base of the now defunct national airline Estonian Air. Tallinn Airport is open to both domestic and international flights. It is located 2.7 nautical miles (5.0 km; 3.1 mi) southeast of 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, 08/26, that is 3,480 m × 45 m (11,417 ft × 148 ft) and 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.
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 km (7.5 mi) 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 on 16 November 1931, and the first test landing was commenced by captain Reissar piloting Estonian Air Force Avro 594 Avian, tail number 120. The airport was opened officially on 20 September 1936, although it had been operational a good while before the official opening - LOT Polish Airlines, which commenced its first passenger flight from Tallinn on 18 August 1932 with Fokker F.VIIb/3m from Lasnamäe Airfield, later relocated the flights to Tallinn Airport and in 1935 the airport had 6 arrivals and departures on average every day. In April 1935 a ramp for seaplanes was built on a shore of Lake Ülemiste, together with a small arch bridge and a customs office, which allowed seaplanes to be relocated from a sea port. The same year the airport administration building was erected, which also served initially as a waiting place for travellers. The total cost of the whole airport project, including the cost of building flight hangars, was 25 million sents.
As the very first runways had soft surface, it made them unavailable for takeoffs and landings during spring and autumn seasons. Therefore, only seaplanes stationed at Lake Ülemiste were able to carry out flights, and during winter months, it was possible to use the frozen surface of the lake as a runway for small airplanes. The concrete paved runways of the first stage, inaugurated together with the opening of the airport, were about 40 metres wide and 300 metres long. As they were arranged in a form of a triangle, they allowed takeoffs and landings in six directions. These were the first concrete-paved runway in Estonia, it was needed some 5,396 cubic meters of stone, 4,100 cubic meters of construction aggregate and 137 tons of cement to construct them.
In addition, 3 km of pipeworks was laid for drainage purposes. 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). On 5 April 1937 the Helsinki-Tallinn-Warsaw-Jerusalem route was inaugurated by Mr. Bobkowski, the assistant of the Polish Minister of Transport. The length of the route was 3,187-kilometre (1,721 nmi) and the journey time was 34 hours. Passengers and cargo numbers grew quickly, from 4,100 passengers and 6,730 kg of cargo in 1933 to 11,892 passengers and 14,726 kg of cargo in 1937. Preparation and design works for a new passenger terminal started in 1938. 14 various projects were submitted for the architectural contest of the new terminal building, with the one from the architect Artur Jürvetson winning the contest in February the same year. The construction costs were estimated at 300 thousand Estonian kroons. The first airplane of then the flag carrier of Estonia, AGO, arrived at Tallinn Airport on 5 October 1939, flying the route Dessau - Königsberg - Tallinn.
As Estonia was occupied by Soviet Union, on 22 July 1940 the order was made by Soviet occupation authorities to transfer the airport to Soviet Air Forces. All aircraft, which were at the airport at that time, including interned Polish Lockheed 14, two Junkers Ju 52 of AGO and PTO-4 trainer aircraft of Estonian Airclub, were relocated to Lasnamäe Airfield.
During the German occupation, regular international connections were announced on 16 October and already restored on 15 November 1941, when Deutsche Lufthansa and Aero O/Y started the route Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga-Königsberg-Berlin. From 1942 to 1944 Sonderstaffel Buschmann was based at Tallinn Airport.
Between 1945 and 1989, Aeroflot was the only airline that served Tallinn Airport.
The construction of the new passenger terminal, which was put on hold due to war, resumed. The building, which was redesigned in accordance with the Stalinist architecture, was finished in 1954 and commissioned on 7 November 1955. Regular flights with jet aircraft began on 2 October 1962 with a maiden passenger flight from Moscow with a Tu-124, which was the latest Soviet airliner. As the terminal built in 1954 became obsolete and unable to cope with growing airport traffic, the construction of the current terminal building began in 1976 and the terminal was opened in 1980, prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics sailing event, which was held in the city. The architect of the new terminal was Mihhail Piskov, who took visual inspiration from traditional Estonian housebarns, and the interior designer was Maile Grünberg. The runway was also lengthened then. The first foreign airline since World War II to operate regular flights from Tallinn was SAS, whose first flight to the airport took place on 25 November 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 where 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 existing terminal was expanded by 35,000 m2 (376,700 sq ft) and the architects of the project were Jean Marie Bonnard, Pia Tasa and Inge Sirkel-Suviste. 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. The renovated terminal received the award "Concrete Building of the Year 2008" by the Estonian Concrete Association.
After the death of former president of Estonia Lennart Meri on 14 March 2006, journalist Argo Ideon from Eesti Ekspress proposed to honour the president's memory by naming Tallinn Airport after him - "Tallinna Lennart Meri Rahvusvaheline Lennujaam" (Lennart Meri International Airport), drawing parallels with John F. Kennedy International Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Sabiha Gökçen International 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
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 were attended to by four airlines - Iberia, Iberia Express, Wamos Air, and Vueling. Some 5,000 passengers were expected during three turnarounds for Pullmantur Cruises cruise line. Tallinn Airport served 9,369 cruise turnaround passengers in 2015. No cruise turnarounds are expected in summer 2016 due to construction works, but the airport plans to continue them in 2017.
On 7 November 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 one third of all capacity in 2014.
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 16 December 2013 and the construction work to extend the runway has begun on 1 May 2016. The length of the renovated runway is 3480 meters, the construction contract was concluded with Lemminkäinen Eesti. On 17 November 2016 the airport administration reported, that the runway expansion works are completed, thus the runway became the longest one in the Baltic states. The runway and the main taxiway were extended to the east and a new system of navigation lights was installed. In the summer and autumn of 2016 the construction work caused restrictions on nighttime flight operations but had no impact on scheduled operations. The soil of the safety area around the extended runway was enforced to reduce potential risks to aircraft in the event of runway overrun or excursion. In the course of the expansion work in 2016 some 45,000 tons of asphalt and 4,000 m3 of concrete were laid down, also 60 kilometers of new duct access was built and 100 kilometers of new cables and 400 new navigation lights installed, as well as 10 kilometers of new rainwater removal infrastructure built. The expansion of the airstrip increased the airport's safety area by 41 hectares and five kilometers of new service roads were built. The whole expansion works must be completed by the end of 2017.
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 EUR126 million during the 2015-2021 period. The most important project is the reconstruction of the runway infrastructure at cost of EUR75 million. Additional investment of EUR2.5 million would be made in flight terminal in order to change its layout and improve the terminal's security, capacity and VIP area. ? multi-storey car park for 1,200 vehicles and 150 taxis 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. On 10 April 2019, Tallinn Airport announced plans to expand the airport terminal and build an airport city by 2035. The expanded terminal is planned to serve 6 to 8 million passengers per year with an expanded area of 85 000 m2 and 26 gates instead of 13.
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), a new terminal dedicated to low-cost airlines is planned to be built. On 12 April 2012 Tallinn Airport announced, that it will build next year a new terminal with five stands 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 previously occupied by low-cost airlines would pass into the disposition of Nordica and other traditional airlines.
There are one passenger terminal and four cargo terminals at the airport. Although it does not share a linear terminal building - rather a pier terminal - the airport heavily resembles Hong Kong's old Kai Tak Airport in that the terminal is to the right of the western end of the runway (08), and the other end (26) is connected by a long parallel taxiway.
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.
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.
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.
The Nordea Lounge services business class passengers of Aeroflot, Air Baltic, Finnair, Flybe, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa and SAS, as well as Priority Pass and members of the Metropolis loyalty programme.
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.
The museum is 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 it is 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 opened in 2016.
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.
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. On 21 December 2015 Magnetic MRO announced a launch of the second painting hangar, which will be built in co-operation with Tallinn Airport, in response to growing demand for painting services. The new 2,000 m2 (21,530 sq ft) hangar with further expansion possibilities will be capable of housing aircraft in size up to Boeing 737 MAX 9 and Airbus A321neo, as well as regional aircraft, and according to the agreement, the hangar is planned to be finalized and ready for use by 1 June 2017.
Tallinn Airport has 4 cargo terminals with total warehouse space of ca 11,600 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.
The following airlines operate scheduled year-round or seasonal routes at Tallinn Airport:
|Aegean Airlines||Seasonal: Athens|
|airBaltic|| Amsterdam, Berlin-Brandenburg, Brussels, Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Oslo-Gardermoen, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Riga, Stockholm-Arlanda, Vienna, Vilnius |
Seasonal: Málaga, Salzburg
|Seasonal charter: Antalya,HeraklionHurghada|
|Freebird Airlines||Seasonal charter: Antalya,Gazipa?a|
|Holiday Europe||Seasonal charter: Hurghada,Sharm El Sheikh|
|LOT Polish Airlines||Brussels, Stockholm-Arlanda, Warsaw-Chopin|
|NyxAir||Kuressaare (begins 21 December 2020)|
|Onur Air||Seasonal charter: Antalya|
|Pegasus Airlines||Seasonal charter: Antalya|
|Ryanair|| Bergamo, Berlin-Brandenburg (begins 30 March 2021),Edinburgh, London-Stansted, Paphos, Vienna|
Seasonal: Dublin, Weeze
|Scandinavian Airlines||Copenhagen, Stockholm-Arlanda|
|Seasonal charter: Antalya,Batumi,Burgas,Corfu,Djerba,Dubai-Al Maktoum,Enfidha,Faro,Heraklion,Hurghada,Kos,Larnaca,Patras,Rhodes,Sharm El Sheikh,Tenerife-South,Tivat,Varna|
|Transaviabaltika||Kärdla, Kuressaare (ends 20 December 2020)|
|Wizz Air||Bergen (begins 6 December 2020),Kharkiv, Kyiv-Zhuliany, Kutaisi, Lviv, Milan-Malpensa, Sandefjord,Trondheim (begins 5 December 2020),Vienna|
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.
|Year||Total Passengers||Aircraft movements||Total Cargo|
|As of 7 October 2020|
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|2012||EURO ANNIE 'Airport Growth Award'
|1-2 million passengers||Won|||
|2015||Best Airport Award
by ACI EUROPE
|under 5 million passenger||Silver|||
|2018||Best European Airport 2018
by ACI INTERNATIONAL
|under 5 million passenger||Won|||
|2018||Airport Service Quality Award Europe 2018
by ACI INTERNATIONAL
|under 5 million passenger||Won|||
The best connection between downtown Tallinn and the airport is provided by tramline "4". The tram network extension to the airport terminal was opened on 1 September 2017. Trams mostly go with 6-minute intervals, the journey from downtown to the airport (and vice versa) takes 18-19 minutes. Trams run through the 150-metre long Ülemiste tram tunnel beneath the Tallinn-Narva railway. Like all public transportation in Tallinn, the tram is free to the city's residents.
The line "2" offers a connection to Mõigu subdistrict of Tallinn(Mõigu is located 1-2 km southeast from airport towards Tartu). On the returning route from Mõigu to Tallinn downtown (and further to Tallinn Passenger Port) the line "2" stops in Tartu Road (on the other side of parking house, not in public transportation terminal (or tram terminal)). Therefore, when going to city centre it is more convenient (easier) to take tram than bus "2". The line "2" buses go mostly with 20-minute intervals.
Long-distance services include:
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 lines "49" and"65" and the tram line "4".
The airport is accessed by the E263 expressway (which shares the same route with the Estonian national road T2). The E20 expressway (which follows the T1) intersects with the E263 expressway 900 metres (3,000 ft) away from the airport towards the city centre. The E67 expressway (Via Baltica, follows the Estonian national road T4) is easily accessible via the 3.8-kilometre-long (2.4 mi) dual carriageway Järvevana Road, which provides a direct connection with E263 at the intersection.
Media related to Tallinn Airport at Wikimedia Commons