Press release 20.3.2024

100 years of aviation weather services by Finnish Meteorological Institute: High-quality information on aviation weather ensures safe and economical flying

The first aviation weather service was provided to civil aviation a hundred years ago to the day. Today, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) provides all official aviation weather services for civil and military aviation in Finnish airspace.

The first aviation weather data was provided to civil aviation on 20 March 1924, when Aero, the predecessor of Finnair, started operating from Katajanokka in Helsinki to Tallinn. Today, FMI is responsible for producing and developing aviation weather observation, forecasting and warning services in Finland.

Vast majority of flight delays are weather-related, and high-quality weather services can reduce the impact of weather. Aviation weather services allow the pilot to optimise the route, for example by taking advantage of the best tailwinds and avoiding areas of turbulence or thunder. For air traffic controllers, the service supports the selection of runways and the control of inbound and outbound air traffic. Especially in winter conditions, weather forecasts play a crucial role in planning the operations of the airport operational centre, airlines, de-icing and maintenance.

"Aviation weather services help aviation operators plan their activities better and operate as safely and efficiently as possible in all weather conditions. Aviation weather services are part of air navigation services. Without weather services, aviation operations would stop," says Riikka Pusa, Head of Group at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The significance of real-time observations increases as the weather gets worse. Each Finnish airport is equipped with FMI's aviation weather observation systems, which provide accurate information on the weather conditions prevailing at the airport.

Global pioneer in aviation weather services

FMI's aviation and military weather service offices are located in Helsinki, Kuopio and Rovaniemi, and they serve customers around the clock, every day of the year. Around one hundred experts participate in the production of aviation weather services at FMI: in addition to aviation weather meteorologists, the production of services requires observation, IT and research expertise, for example.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute carries out international cooperation in the field of aviation weather, both in Europe and globally, and it is one of the cornerstones of its operations. Finnish aviation weather expertise is also utilised in international research and development projects, and it is exported around the world as part of FMI's development cooperation projects.

"FMI is one of the global pioneers in its field. In Finland, we are part of the aviation family together with airports, air navigation, airlines and other aviation operators. We all have an important role to ensure smooth operations", Riikka Pusa says.

100 years of aviation weather information

  • The first aviation weather services were provided to civil aviation on 20 March 1924 when Aero started operating from Helsinki to Tallinn. According to the 100-year-old weather report, the weather was "variable with occasional snowfall and clear spells. Northerly and north-easterly winds in the north, variable winds in the south."

  • The aviation weather department of the Central Meteorological Institute, the predecessor of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, was established in Malmi, Helsinki on 16 December 1936. The first meteorologist in Malmi was Aili Nurminen (MS), who became Finland's first chief aviation meteorologist two years later.

  • In the first decades, aviation weather products were mainly hand-made charts. Pilots were briefed for flights at the airport's weather service, also known as “Meteo".

  • Finland joined the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1949. International cooperation has contributed to the current shape of the services: for example, aviation weather observations (METARs) and aerodrome forecasts (TAFs) have remained the basically same for more than half a century.

  • In the 1980s, FMI developed the first graphic workstation for weather forecasters, which revolutionised their work. In 1997, a tool called TAF Editor was created for aviation weather forecasting to help aviation meteorologists.

  • On 1 June 2012, aviation observation services were transferred from Finavia to FMI, which is responsible for producing and developing aviation weather observation, forecasting and warning services in the Finnish Flight Information Region.

Further information:

Head of Group Riikka Pusa, Finnish Meteorological Institute, tel. +358 50 407 3967,

Civil Aviation Account Manager Ida-Reetta Virranjoki, tel. +358 45 111 6992,

Aviation weather services

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