Oslo Airport to partially close as passenger numbers shrink

Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport has initiated the closure of large parts of its terminals.

Oslo Airport to partially close as passenger numbers shrink
A plane in the air at Gardermoen airport near Oslo on April 19th, 2010. Photo: AFP

The partial closure is a consequence of a drastic reduction in the number of passengers using the airport due to the coronavirus crisis, national broadcaster NRK reports.

Oslo Airport director Stine Ramstad Westby said that air traffic is not likely to get close to pre-coronavirus levels before 2022 or 2023.

“In times like this, it’s hard to be the Airport Director at Oslo Airport. We live on customers, passengers and airlines, and it’s very said that they are not at the airport,” Westby said.

Low traffic numbers mean that the Pir Nord terminal, which facilitates both international and domestic flights, and the eastern section of the departures hall will be closed to the public in the near future.

“This will enable us to save on electricity, cleaning and maintenance. In the situation we’re in now with low revenues, every krone counts,” Westby said.

Traffic figures from last week show a decrease of 86 percent in passenger numbers compared to the same week in 2019, NRK writes.

Westby said she feared large scale job losses at the airport and was dubious as to whether a coronavirus vaccine would arrive in time to protect jobs.

“The information we have from the (Norwegian) Directorate of Health is that it will take some time before the vaccine is available to everyone in the population,” she said.

As such, she said she expected an improvement to the situation to first be seen in 2022 and 2023, with a return to normal traffic in 2025.

READ ALSO: Low-cost airline Norwegian files for bankruptcy protection

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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