The planning of a new airport for Helsinki had already begun in the 1940s, when it became obvious that the old airport at Malmi could not handle the increasing number of passengers or the new, heavier aircraft.
After careful research, a new site was found some 20 kilometres from Helsinki city centre in an area that today belongs to the city of Vantaa.
Helsinki Airport opened on 10 July 1952. Helsinki Airport operated temporarily during the summer Olympic Games in 1952. While Aero (now Finnair) used the old airport at Malmi, charter flights were directed to the new airport.
Initially, the airport had an air navigation services building, a 2,000-metre-long runway, an apron area and a shed for passengers. The 1,800-metre-long auxiliary runway was built a few years later. Regular jet flight operations began in 1959.
The first actual passenger terminal was built in 1969 and the extension, the international section, was finished in 1983. Five years later, in 1988, the airport handled over six million passengers annually.
Today, the airport handles nearly 17 million passengers a year and provides around 20,000 jobs.
The pictures are a part of Helsinki Airport’s unique photo exhibition, which provides a special view to the 60-year history of the airport. The interesting pictures combine the airport's old black-and-white photos with colour pictures taken in 2012. The photo collages are by photographer Markus Kontiainen. The "Same place - different time" exhibition is displayed on the Scenic Terrace.
1952 Helsinki Airport opened
1956 second runway opened
1956 first radar system installed
1969 new passenger terminal opened
1973 first security checks on international flights
1983 passenger terminal extension completed
1993 new Domestic Flights Terminal opened
1996 International Terminal enlarged and Domestic Terminal connected to International Terminal, new shopping arcade, hotel and congress centre opened
1997 new VIP President Terminal opened for guests of state
1998 Helsinki Airport voted the world's best for the first time
1999 new arrival and departure halls opened in the International Terminal
2000 total passenger number exceed 10 million for the first time
2001 introduction of new Schengen passport control points
2002 third runway opened
2004 expansion of the International Flights Terminal and opening of a new shopping area for long-haul passengers
2009 expansion of Terminal 2, a new shopping area and a spa was opened for passengers on long-distance flights, the division between domestic and international flights was removed, Terminal 1 was renovated to be used for international flights
2013 development programme for expanding the airport was launched