Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, sometimes known as Tallinn Airport or the airport code TLL, provides air service to the country of Estonia. The airport is located near the town of Tallinn. Former president of Estonia and one of the country’s leaders during its nationalist movement, Lennart Meri, is also honored by the airport’s name.
History of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport
Air operations in the area began in 1936 after a lengthy construction process. Prior to World War II, the airport provided facilities to a number of international carriers. During the war, civilian commercial aviation was halted. The Russian flagged carrier, Aeroflot, exclusively provided international air service for a number of decades including a spike in travelers in 1980 when Estonia hosted the sailing events associated with the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
Other international carriers were allowed to operate at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport in 1989. Passenger counts indicate that about 90 percent of the passengers moving through the gates at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport are traveling from or to international destinations.
One of the recent developments concerning international travelers at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport has included a cooperative effort with the cruise ship industry. Charter aircraft bring passengers to Estonia to board the cruise ships at the city’s port of call. While not part of the standard passenger flow, this does increase the traffic at the airport.
The airport operates using a single terminal building featuring 18 check-in counters and 21 gates. This allows the airport a stated capacity of about 1.6 million passengers each year, which is well below its actual passenger traffic of about 2 million people per year. Future expansions include a new terminal for budget airlines and other improvements to efficiency designed to increase the number of passengers the airport can serve.
The terminal space includes the standard amenities of most airports with free wireless Internet available within the lounges. The Linda Lounge offers free facilities to business class travelers and is available for a fee for others passing through the airport. The terminal area is divided between travelers from within the Schengen Treaty boundary and those outside those areas. The Schengen Treaty allows residents of 26 European countries to cross international boundaries of countries within the treaty area without passing through customs.
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport utilizes a single runway of about 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet. This runway has a capacity to handle aircraft with wingspans less than 65 meters and is equipped with lights and an instrument landing system. The runways also provide facilities for fighter aircraft as part of the country’s defense system.
The airport has a unique position in the world geography, which gives it a distinct advantage for international carriers. Estonia is the eastern most of the European countries. This means that many carriers flying routes to Asia include a stop at this airport. Most of these aircraft are wide-body long-haul aircraft requiring the large runway. Future plans include lengthening the runway to provide capabilities for even larger aircraft. This location has also made the airport a major airfreight handler utilizing four cargo terminals offering climate controlled storage.