The government last week secured a parliamentary majority for the allocation of 1.5 billion kroner ($175 million) for the construction of a new airport in Rana.
Along with 600 million kroner ($70 million) from Rana Municipality and local businesses, developer Polarsirklen lufthavnutvikling (Polar Circle Airport Development, PLU) hopes to have the airport operational by 2024.
But Scandinavian Airlines said that as things stand, the new airport would be “of no benefit to us,” according to a report by news agency NTB.
“With such a thin volume of traffic, we feel that this development is not right to prioritise,” Ove Myrold, director of public relations and infrastructure with SAS.
Both SAS and Norwegian assess the use of the new airport as likely to be so expensive for them to use that it will lead to increased prices for passengers.
“All large transport projects have a cost overlap, and we are concerned that a development like this will lead to raised costs for airlines and thereby also higher prices for customers,” Norwegian's communications director Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told NTB.
But PLU's CEO Henrik Johansen said that a major airport in the northern region would create natural growth, thereby attracting the airlines.
“The airlines will of course want to come once our region – the last in the north – has been made accessible to commercial flights,” Johansen told broadcaster NRK.
The government and its parliamentary support parties secured majority backing in March for the funding of the Rana airport. The money will be phased in to the building during its second phase, no earlier than 2024, reports NTB.