Airports suffer drop after volcano ash

The number of passengers passing through the 14 Swedish airports owned by Swedish state company Swedavia fell 25 percent in April, largely due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption.

Airports suffer drop after volcano ash

All Swedavia airports, which include most of Sweden’s largest, showed a decline in passenger numbers in April. Stockholm Bromma decreased by 27 percent and Stockholm Arlanda by 23 percent. Gothenburg Landvetter fell by 21 percent.

Some 1.7 million people passed through the company’s airports last month. International traffic decreased by 19 percent to 1 million passengers, while domestic traffic declined by 32 percent to 700,000, Swedavia said in a statement.

“The first part of April showed a strong performance, but the traffic disruption due to the ash cloud from April 15th to 21th caused a passenger shortfall of about 600,000 travellers,” Mats Sigurdson, director of aviation marketing at Swedavia, said in a statement. “Even after traffic restarted, there were a number of delays and flight cancellations.”

From January to April, the number of air passengers at Swedavia airports fell by four percent from the same period in 2009. The number of international passengers decreased by three percent and domestic passengers by four percent.

“We saw the smallest decline in intercontinental travel. This was due to less sensitivity to delays and traffic diversions, but also because Sweden received several departures when [Copenhagen’s] Kastrup was closed,” said Mats Sigurdson.

The number of landings for scheduled and charter flights fell by 22 percent in April compared with the corresponding month last year. International landings declined by 16 percent and domestic by 27 percent. From January to April, the number of landings decreased eight percent to 59,500.

Swedavia was previously part of the aviation authority LFV (Luftfartsverket, or Civil Aviation Administration) until April 1st, when Swedavia was formed and LFV transferred over responsibility for airport ownership and operation.

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Why this Swede is now a legend in Iceland

Iceland may have been eliminated from Euro 2016 after a 5-2 defeat to France, but their departing Swedish coach will still go down as a legend in the country for his feats.

Why this Swede is now a legend in Iceland
Iceland's Swedish manager Lars Lagerbäck. Photo: Ciaran Fahey/AP/TT

Lars Lagerbäck's final act as Iceland manager was to mastermind an incredible run to the last eight at the Euros from the tournament’s least-fancied team. And midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson says his boss will always be remembered for what he has done for Icelandic football.

“He is one of the guys that took us to France and the quarter-finals. He will be a legend in Icelandic football history,” the Swansea player told AFP.

“He helped us get to the finals and achieve some of our dreams, so it is very sad that he is leaving and I’m sure we’ll be in contact for the rest of our lives.”

Lagerbäck’s time with Iceland in France was his seventh major finals, having led his native Sweden to five and Nigeria at the 2010 World Cup. He believes the future for Iceland can be bright, even without his expertise.

“Hopefully the FA in Iceland and clubs can take this in, and perhaps use the income from this tournament and put it into a project to help develop young players, I think the future is pretty good,” the manager said.

“If you look upon the whole tournament, as a newcomer, to reach the quarter-finals has been absolutely fantastic.”

The big challenge for the island nation is to replace him. Lagerbäck will now hand over the reins to co-coach and part-time dentist Hemir Hallgrimsson.

“It’s been a fantastic journey these last four-and-a-half years. All the support I’ve got from everywhere I’ve been in Iceland and around the game has been absolutely fantastic,” the Swede said.

“It’s something really, really extra this tournament with all the fans coming here, and what he heard from back home and all the interest and positivity.”

Taking Iceland deep into the knockout stage of their first major finals has made Lagerbäck a coach in demand, with rumours of an offer from England even touted in the British press.

And while the Swede had previously suggested he may retire after Euro 2016, he now appears to be less certain.

“I’m not closing any doors. Right now I can’t think of a 100 percent coaching job, but if someone came with something interesting, of course I would listen,” he told Swedish broadcaster Viasat.