Europe’s Northern Hub for Flights to Asia is Getting a Makeover – Helsinki Airport Prepares for 20 Million Annual Passengers by 2020
The Helsinki Airport is going through a large-scale expansion that aims to improve the airport’s facilities as well as strengthen its competitive position among the big European airports. The improvements are expected to take several years.
The development program for the Helsinki Airport was launched in spring 2014 with the aim of a major improvement in the airport’s services, facilities, and traffic arrangements by 2020. The 64-year-old airport is going through its seventh expansion project with heavy investments. The overall budget for the project is 900 million euros.
“Over its lengthy history, the Helsinki Airport has been recognized with multiple awards and nominations that we take pride in. Through strategic planning, the airport has become the leading North-European airport and an important hub for layovers between Europe and Asia,” the CEO Kari Savolainen of the Finnish airport operator Finavia Corporation says.
In Europe, the Helsinki Airport has the most routes to Japan and comes in fifth in the number of Asian departures in a week. Currently the Chinese are already one of the biggest groups of passengers that pass through the Helsinki Airport, and the number of Chinese nationals visiting the airport increased by 100,000 from 2014.
The airport’s direct routes fly people to 135 destinations around the world. In addition to the extensive connection network, the airport prides itself with one of Europe’s best service quality.
Sleek Scandinavian design and services lead to a comfortable travel experience
The Helsinki Airport’s already Scandinavian style will be highlighted through the renovations. A multitude of services, such as free Wi-Fi, art galleries, and sleeping pods will also be available.
“In Developing the Helsinki Airport we have kept Finnish design and architecture in mind. The use of glass and wooden elements brings lightness and a natural atmosphere into the terminal,” describes head designer Tuomas Silvennoinen of PES Architects.
Top quality in design, facilities, and services ensures a pleasant traveling experience for all passengers. The Helsinki Airport has a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cafes that make it not just a quick transit hub, but rather a place where each day numerous passengers from around the world can relax and and look for facilities and services to pass time in between flights. By 2020, the Helsinki Airport expects to provide services for 20 million passengers annually.
Not the first, but the largest, renovation of the historical airport
In 2015, the airport went through its largest service revamp to date as 70 totally new or renewed cafés, restaurants and shops were opened. The airport has a very high reliability record in baggage handling, transfer flights, short in-transit times, as well as the so called “snow-how” knowledge.
The current major renovation project will be carried out gradually. The terminal areas will be increased by 45 percent and the capacity for baggage handling by 50 percent. In June 2016, the waiting area for non-Schengen will be expanded and the capacity of the border and transit passenger controls will be increased.
The Helsinki Airport was opened in 1952 to facilitate the Helsinki Olympics that year. After opening, the airport had one runway and a wooden terminal building built for temporary use. The current terminal building was opened in 1969 and since then has gone through several renovations. Today the airport has three runways in use.