Helsinki Airport is preparing for an increase in air traffic. That is why the airport is currently undergoing an expansion project.
In many ways, an airport is a unique construction site. According to Henri Hansson, Technical Manager at Finavia, the starting point is that the needs and wishes of air passengers are constantly kept in mind throughout the design and construction processes.
He lists three qualities that define an airport construction project.
– First, the airport processes must function both “behind the curtains” and in the customer facilities every day around the year. Another important factor has to do with the international clientele. The cultural offsets of the customers, such as language, must be taken into consideration.
The third point, according to Hansson, is that the facilities must be easy to service.
The location of the worksite in the vicinity of the runways brings its own challenges to the construction work. The work does not affect the flow of air traffic; it is carried out while the planes land and take off.
Jarkko Lahti, Project Engineer at Lemminkäinen, concedes that the environment is challenging.
– Our team has faced difficult conditions before, but this airport creates an entirely new level of challenge. There are so many operators here that need to be constantly taken into account.
The 45-metre crane soaring above the middle of the construction site surrounded by runways is a real eye-catcher. Indeed, the crane deserves its share of admiration; it is the strongest mobile crane in Europe.
It can hoist up to 64 tonnes—a vital condition for a terminal to be built out of large elements. The large, spacious facilities without pillars set their own demands on the construction.
Setting up the enormous crane where it now stands took great effort. It weighs 300 tonnes.
– Erecting it was an incredible operation, Lahti laughs. The crane was assembled by a truck crane that was assembled by another truck crane.
– The assembly team from the crane supplier had gone all the way to China to practise erecting the crane, says Lahti, describing the demanding nature of the project.
The dizzyingly tall crane can only be accessed with a special permit. However, according to Lahti, not everyone wants to go to the top. Some feel dizzy up there, some don’t. Lahti himself is not troubled by the height. He allowed us to take a look at what the busy airport looks like from the top of the crane.
See the timeline to get a picture of how the airport will be expanded in the near future.