Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 1

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Mobility and regionalisation: Changing patterns of air traffic in the Baltic Sea Region in connection to European integration

Jan Henrik Nilsson

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 1, pp. 77-93
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0092

Abstract

The geo-political transition in 1989-91 had long term consequences for the European integration process.The integration and regionalisation processes following the transition resulted in a transformation of territorial borders in and around the region; the functions of the borders changed. Mobility is vital for these processes.This paper is based on a longitudinal study of the development of air traffic from airports in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea Region, 2000-2012. The purpose of the paper is to discuss how the development of infrastructure and transport networks influence regionalisation processes in the Baltic Sea Region. Firstly, the impact of macro-economic development as a driver of internationalisation in the region is analysed, thereafter therelationship between institutional transition and regional system development. There are three periods of large increase in traffic from the Baltic States towards Western Europe, related to institutional change: rapidly after independence, as a result of the enlargement of the European Union, and related to the emergence of low-costaviation. Aviation from Minsk and Kaliningrad have also shown substantial increase in air traffic, but mainly to other parts of the former Soviet Union. There is thus little evidence of a regionalisation process involving the whole region.

Keywords: Geo-political change, borders, mobility, aviation, the Baltic Sea Region

Jan Henrik Nilsson [jan-henrik.nilsson@ism.lu.se], Department of Service Management and Service Studies Lund University Box 882, 25108 Helsingborg: Sweden