Five jet bridges, 13,000 square metres of additional space, two new restaurants, a premium-class lounge and a new child care room will raise Helsinki Airport’s long-haul flight services to an unprecedented level.
“The opening of Helsinki Airport’s West Pier comes at a very good time as Finnair’s successful Asian strategy continues to increase the number of transfer passengers at our airport. In addition, the two new Chinese carriers signed by our route development team will start flights: Tibet Airlines in April and Juneyao Air in June,” says Joni Sundelin, Executive Director of Helsinki Airport at Finavia.
The once small Helsinki Airport has developed and grown to such an extent that it now competes with big airports. The main airport in Finland, Helsinki Airport has best connections in the Nordic countries and is in fifth place in Europe. Competition for passengers continues to be intense.
“We want to stand out by providing an exceptionally good customer experience and responsible operations. We strive for smooth and safe processes, and enhance our services and work hard to ensure that emissions from airport operations do not increase as the number of passengers increases. All our airports are carbon neutral,” Sundelin says.
Finavia is working hard to reduce its own emissions and has recently increased the use of renewable diesel at all its airports and has installed additional solar panels on the roof of the terminal building at Helsinki Airport.
The design ideas for the spacious and bright west pier draw on the nature theme.
“Wall surfaces are decorated using nine-metre-tall wooden reliefs made from Finnish birch. The three-dimensional surfaces convey the mood of fluttering foliage and old wood-shingled roofs,” explains Tuomas Silvennoinen, Head Designer, PES-Architects.
The treelike charging stations for mobile devices and the large luminaires made from translucent plywood also evoke images of Finland’s magnificent nature.
Everybody can enter the Plaza Premium Lounge
Among the new services in the long-haul area in Helsinki Airport, Joni Sundelin wishes to highlight the new lounge.
About a quarter of airport passengers are frequent travellers. They appreciate waiting areas where you can work in peace or rest before your flight. However, not all frequent travellers have an airline loyalty card entitling access to the lounge.
“The Plaza Premium Lounge is open to all passengers for an entrance fee. We are very happy to have found a service provider partner that belongs to the largest independent lounge network in the world. This enables us to cater to a very important customer segment of ours,” Sundelin says.
The new lounge is located on the second floor above Aukio.
Finland’s first Jamie Oliver restaurant opened
Jamie’s Deli is the first one under the brand created by the world-renowned chef. The ingredients of the dishes at the Deli are selected by Jamie and his team; they are always fresh, seasonal and responsibly produced.
The opening of Moomin Coffee, the world’s first Moomin-themed airport café, designed especially for Moomin fans and families with children, also opened in the beginning of this week.
Both new restaurants are operated by SSP Finland. They are located in the vicinity of gate 40.
Helsinki Airport’s development programme is making progress
Finavia’s billion-euro investment programme for Helsinki Airport, scheduled to last about eight years, aims to strengthen the airport’s competitive position and ensure Finland’s accessibility.
The extension project aimed at the development of transfer passenger capacity will be completed by the end of this year. July will see the opening of new premises for border control. The second phase of the west pier, including the extension of the baggage handling facilities, will be completed during November-December.
Other ongoing projects include the improvement of the level of service for Schengen flights and the construction of a new entrance to Terminal 2.
Completed and ongoing projects
Extension of check-in and security control facilities in Terminal 2 (2014)
Bus gate area 50 A-M (2016)
South pier (2017)
Extension of Terminal 1 (2019)
West pier 1 (2019)
Extension of gate area 17-19 (June 2019)
Extension of border control (July 2019)
West pier 2 (November-December 2019)
New indoor car park (2020)
New entrance and departures and arrivals halls in T2 (2021)
Extension of gate area 32-34 (future gate area 37-39) (2021)
Current arrivals and departure halls turned into Schengen gate area (2022)
Finavia’s investment programme in brief
Additional space in the terminal: 103,000 m2 (45% increase)
Additional bridge gates for wide-body aircraft: 8 (100% increase)
More luggage handling capacity: 50% increase
More passport control capacity: 50% increase
Refurbished apron area: 450,000 m2
Additional parking spaces: 4,800
A new multimodal travel centre, linking different modes of transport.
Finavia’s investment: approximately EUR 1 billion
Employment impact during construction: over 16,000 person-years