Now running into its second year, the Helsinki Airport development programme has brought many visible changes to the airport.
This year, the airport will welcome a new rail connection, renovation of one of its three runways and preparations for future stages of the programme.
– Helsinki Airport’s large-scale development programme continues to advance in 2015. Launched in spring 2014, the programme aims for a major overhaul of the airport’s services, facilities and traffic arrangements, says Airport Director Ville Haapasaari and SVP of Finavia Corporation.
The extensive development programme will increase the airport’s passenger capacity to 20 million by 2020. Helsinki Airport has already established itself as the leading transfer hub in Northern Europe; last year, the airport’s passenger numbers exceeded 16 million for the first time. In coming years, the airport is looking for growth in the increasing traffic between Europe and Asia.
Ring Rail line connects the airport with central Helsinki
According to Haapasaari, one of the biggest and most anticipated changes in 2015 is the new rail connection from the airport to central Helsinki.
– Opening in July, the rail connection will bring passengers to Helsinki’s Central Railway Station in 30 minutes. The new Ring Rail line will make it a convenient connecting point also for passengers arriving by train from St Petersburg in Russia, he says.
The new rail connection makes travelling between central Helsinki and the airport fast and convenient, providing transfer passengers with an easy way to add a short visit to the city into their layovers.
The construction of new parking spaces is also currently underway. The expansion of the P5 parking garage will bring almost 3,000 new parking spaces to the airport. The expansion work will be completed in summer 2016.
Improvements to airport infrastructure also continue in the coming year. During the summer months, the airport’s runway 1 will undergo a complete renovation. The work will be carried out in May-July, and with two of the airport’s three runways in use, it is expected to bring little change to the airport’s operation.
Preparing for a bright future
The first stage of the development programme was carried out last year. Terminal 2 received a partial makeover where check-in and security capacity was increased to meet the demands of the airport’s projected passenger numbers.
The terminal 2 luggage claim also received a makeover and now welcomes arriving passengers with Finnish-themed décor.
2014 also saw the biggest retail upgrade ever seen at Helsinki Airport, with the revamping of over 70 retail spaces, the introduction of new services and major renovations of existing ones. With the introduction of more varied flavours and prestigious global brands, the airport’s restaurant and shopping services can now better serve the needs of an increasingly international passenger flow.
As the development programme advances, it will bring changes to the airport’s terminal structure. The airport’s terminal building will be expanded by 80,000 square metres. Two extensions will be built, both of them becoming expansions of the current long-haul section at Terminal 2.
To meet the needs of growing transfer traffic, eight new jet bridges for wide-body aircrafts will be constructed. After the expansion, Helsinki Airport will have 16 jet bridges for wide-body aircrafts.
Expanding the terminal under one roof will enable the airport to retain its unique character, efficiency and passenger-friendly layout. Work on the expansion is estimated to begin during 2016, with planning and preparatory carried out this year.