Airports are the most international shopping and service hubs in the world. Although a modern airport often looks like a shopping centre, its operating environment is unique in many ways.
Keeping a shop at the airport is more expensive than having one at a shopping centre
The prices in shops and cafés at airports often seem high, and they may well be higher than in city centres. The most important reason for this difference is the fact that an airport is in many ways an exceptional operating environment, and it costs more to operate a shop or a café there than in a regular shopping centre or in a city shopping street.
An airport is in many ways an exceptional operating environment.
Processing goods often takes at least twice as much time, effort and money compared to your familiar corner shop or the neighbourhood restaurant. The business and warehouse facilities are small, and only low volumes of goods and ingredients can be stored. International security regulations require that most goods to be sold in the departure area are X-rayed, which means that also the transport containers must be small.
Factors such as these increase the transportation and storage costs for businesses that operate at airports.
Personnel costs are also higher at airports due to the long opening hours, extensive and strict security measures, and language skills requirements, among others.
Cosmetics at more affordable prices than in the city
Even though airport prices are generally considered to be higher than prices in the city, there are exceptions. For example, cosmetics are often available at lower prices at the airport. For some high-class beauty and fashion brands, the prices may be up to 20% lower.
Because there are so many unique factors at work, airport prices should be compared to those at other airports or in other special operating environments, such as at trade fairs or concerts, rather than to city prices.
Service development based on customer feedback
In recent years, Finavia has invested in improving the service selection of Helsinki Airport together with commercial operators, based on customer feedback. A comprehensive selection of high-quality services is a basic ingredient of excellent customer experience.
A comprehensive selection of high-quality services is a basic ingredient of excellent customer experience.
The quality of food and beverage services has received particular attention. Finavia and the commercial operators at the airport have agreed in favouring domestic ingredients and locally produced food, and in engaging in cooperation with small-scale, local producers.
Special diets and families with children are taken into account better than before. Helsinki Airport also has a bakery that delivers fresh bread to several food vendors at the airport every morning. You can also find a wide variety of options for budget travellers.
At Helsinki Airport, you can now refill your own water bottle at no charge from cold water taps. The airport also has several vending machines where water bottles are available for €1. You may also choose to add a donation to help children in developing countries via the development organisation Plan.
Customer satisfaction at Helsinki Airport has seen a steady rise in recent years. The trend has been proven by the many awards and recognitions the airport has received.
Coffee cups support Finnish airport infrastructure
Air traffic is the only mode of transport that receives no support from taxpayers. The Finnish airport infrastructure is financed solely with Finavia’s profits, which accumulate from airline charges and the services sold to travellers.
Air traffic is the only mode of transport that receives no support from taxpayers.
Thus, the coffee or sandwich you buy helps to finance future runway work and other airport development projects at Finland’s airports, and to guarantee safe, first-class airport services in the whole country. The Finnish airport infrastructure has received several awards for being among the best in the world.
Without the services produced for travellers, airline charges would have to be substantially increased. This would make Finnish airports less attractive to airlines, which would mean fewer connections and ultimately lead to higher flight ticket prices.
Finland has exceptionally good flight connection coverage for such a sparsely populated country. According to ACI Europe, Finland has the best transfer connections to different parts of the world in the Nordics.
Helsinki Airport has approximately 60 businesses that offer a variety of services directly to travellers, such as shops, kiosks, cafés and car rental services. Finavia has a competitive tendering process to select new operators, and it always aims to ensure that there are several businesses operating in each service field.
Nearly 17 million travellers pass through Helsinki Airport every year. More than half of the passengers come outside Finland.