Looking at the SAS in-flight magazine on the way home, I glanced at the map of the places that that airline serves in the region: over 40 places in Norway (a total somewhat higher than all the other countries it serves in the Baltic region put together). It appears that by the time your town has reached 5,000 population (yes, five thousand), it can expect to have SAS planes landing there. There is very roughly an SAS served airport per 100,000 population, which doesn't look so extreme until you realise that Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim together comprise 1.4 million people but only need 4 of their quota of 14.
When you discover that Kirkenes (population ~7000 if you include the surrounding areas) has over a quarter of a million passengers a year - or nearly 40 flights per resident per year - you realise how much flying is required. There are really only three options for getting from Kirkenes in the north to the southern part of the country. Firstly, road. To Bergen for example, that's 2600+ km if you don't route through Finland and Sweden. Or you can take the Hurtigruten ships. Which will get you down to Bergen in 6 days. Or you fly.
So if you need to get anywhere and back in less than a week, the aircraft is it.
(On the other hand, you send your cans for recycling by ship.)