Since the 1970s, the world automobile industry has located their winter testing to the region around Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur in Swedish Lapland. The accessibility of the area, with long distances and time-consuming journeys through various airports in Europe and Sweden, was a big problem for a long time. In the late 1990s, when the car testing industry in Swedish Lapland expanded strongly, Michael Fender and Rainer Dreher saw the ability to start up direct flights from Germany to Arvidsjaur. In 1999 they founded Fly Car to serve the automobile testing industry.
Tell me about Fly Car and your business?
As the name reveals, our company was founded to fly for the car industry. We have increased our capacity from Stuttgart, Munich, Frankfurt-Hahn and Hannover over the years. Last season, 2014, we handled 100 flights. The average capacity for the winter season 2015 is eleven flights per week, with 800 seats every Monday and Friday. Our airline partners are Germania, Austrian Airlines and TUIfly. The Fly Car Group have expanded and includes our tour operator Incendo Travel, two hotels in the historical city of Oppenheim, our industry service provider INGgreen and IGLOOTEL AB, located in Swedish Lapland.
“We are aiming to extend the seasons by offering all-year-tourism activities and all-year-flight connections.“ – Rainer Dreher, Founder, Fly Car
What type of investments are you doing in Swedish Lapland?
To start with, Fly Car invested in air transportation. We still buy flight capacity for the season and sell single seats. Two years ago, in 2013, we decided to build the Iglootel in Arjeplog. A Swedish company was founded and we bought a beautiful 40-hectare piece of land for that. Through our affiliated company Incendo Travel, we develop new tourism ideas and attractions as well as we invest in new competence.
How do you find the business climate in Swedish Lapland: the support and service for investors, dialogue etc?
In general it is a good business climate. I hope for support from the leadership and the municipalities of Norrbotten. Master plans, policies and visions for the future are essential – the decision makers and leaders in the region need to decide were and how to develop the tourism industry.
What potentials do you see for developing the tourism industry in Swedish Lapland?
I see great potentials for the tourism industry in the region. After some really slow and tough years at the beginning, we now experience a growing network with local tourism companies, with Swedish Lapland Visitors Board as the competence team for the branch, with Invest in Norrbotten for finding financial support and with Business Sweden searching and thinking in that direction as well. Collaboration with other businesses is a possibility – the car test-industry for instance, where the tourism sector can use available hotel capacity during summer.
What du you see as the biggest challenges for future development of the tourism industry in Swedish Lapland?
It is a challenge to convince investors of a reliable chance for tourism development in Swedish Lapland. As I said before, the leadership in the region has to decide on a direction for developing the tourism industry. The development also needs to harmonize with other industry establishments in the region.
What are the future plans and visions for Fly Car in Swedish Lapland?
We are aiming to extend the seasons by offering all-year-tourism activities and all-year-flight connections. Before we can introduce summer flights, we must work with product development and marketing. It’s is a log term development.
What is your advise to other stakeholders wanting to invest in the tourism industry in Swedish Lapland?
Cooperation and network is a key to success. My advice is to take part in the network that I mentioned earlier: Swedish Lapland Visitors Board, Invest in Norrbotten, Business Sweden. Welcome to do business with us in Swedish Lapland.