Fantastic pace of construction
Helsinki-Vantaa continues its growth
In February 2006, the foundation stone of the new hotel was laid at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. In March, the agreement on constructing the World Trade Center tower at the airport was made public. The construction work for the new car park got underway in the summer. The extension to the international terminal and construction of the new baggage handling centre started midway through September.
In December 2006, the number of passengers handled by Helsinki-Vantaa exceeded the 12 million mark for the first time. The airport has a genuine need to grow and evolve!
“Our historic EUR 143 million investment to expand the international terminal is above all a strategic decision,” says the manager of Finavia’s Airports Department, Mr. Reijo Tasanen.
“By investing in the airport’s gateway traffic, we are aiming to achieve profitable growth, in line with Finavia’s strategy. We are simultaneously strongly supporting Finnair’s Far Eastern traffic, which is a clear demonstration of our customer-oriented thinking.”
Once the construction project is completed, Helsinki-Vantaa will have eight jetways intended for widebodied aircraft. These will help make it possible for the airport to accommodate large MD-11 and Airbus aircraft arriving quickly from the Far East and to flexibly transfer the majority of the passengers to flights departing for European destinations.
From the perspective of passengers travelling from the Far East to Europe, Helsinki-Vantaa is a tempting alternative: in addition to a shorter route, it offers good connections to European cities together with services at an airport that is pleasant and uncrowded.
“Around 80 per cent of passengers from Finnair’s Asia services change planes at Helsinki-Vantaa. The Far Eastern traffic, therefore, strengthens the route traffic and destination network in Europe as well. This also benefits Finnish air passengers,” comments Mr. Tasanen.
The investment decision to expand the international terminal was taken by Finavia in August 2006, and excavation work started at the same time. The new building designed with three storeys will be completed in autumn 2009.
Around one half of the investment will go towards the construction of the new baggage handling centre. The centre will be located in the lower levels of the extension and will handle the majority of the airport’s baggage for international departures. A 300-metre long tunnel will be constructed through the rock for the baggage conveyors, which will connect the centre to the existing terminals.
On its completion, the extended international terminal at Helsinki-Vantaa has been designed to handle 15 million passengers per year and 13.5 million items of baggage per year.
The construction of the new airport hotel rising up at Helsinki-Vantaa has progressed according to plan. The seven-storey Hotel Hilton Helsinki-Vantaa Airport had reached ridge height at the end of the year under review and will be completed in August 2007.
The developer and owner of the hotel is Finavia’s subsidiary Lentoasemakiinteistöt Oyj (LAK) and Skanska is the main contractor. The total cost estimate of the project, including the investment by LAK and the hotel operator, is approximately EUR 40 million.
The hotel, located in an excellent spot next to the international terminal, will become a new landmark for the airport. The hotel will include well over 200 rooms of the Hilton standard, several conference rooms, restaurants and a gym. The windows will have a view of the runway area. A covered passageway will lead travellers the short one hundred metres from the international terminal to the hotel door.
“The new hotel will expand the range of services offered to those travelling on business as well as for leisure. The hotel will provide new opportunities for developing gateway traffic and will support Finnair’s Asia strategy too,” says Mr. Antti Ala-Heikkilä, managing director of LAK.
The growth in passenger numbers at Helsinki-Vantaa is increasing the need for new parking spaces at the airport. Finavia is responding to this need by expanding the P3 car park located opposite the domestic terminal. A new section is being built next to the old building and it will be connected to the old section via a bridge. The
entrance and exit routes will not be changed.
The blasting work was finished during the year under review and construction will begin at the start of 2007. The seven-storey car park building will be completed in summer 2008 according to the plans.
“We will increase the number of new car parking spaces by well over 2,400,” enthuses Mr Henri Hansson, who is head of the unit from Finavia’s airport technical services.
“After the extension, the P3 car park will have a total of 4,500 car parking spaces. The parking capacity for the whole airport will increase to 12,500 spaces, of which 10,000 will be customer spaces.”
The design of the new car park has also paid attention to ensuring that customers can easily find their way back to their car after a trip. “Colours and different symbols will be used to refresh customers’ memories,” says Mr. Hansson.
The technical area of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is also being redeveloped to meet the current challenges in aviation. A new maintenance building is being built at the airport, which will replace the previous building that has been in use for over 30 years.
“New larger aircraft , including the Airbus aircraft used by Finnair, require new investments in terms of upkeep,” explains Mr. Henri Hansson. “For example, a broader width of snow must be cleared from the runways. The friction of the surface of the runways must be better.”
A new, larger fleet of vehicles has been acquired for the upkeep of Helsinki-Vantaa, which in turn requires more space for storage, maintenance and repairs. The maintenance building currently under construction has an area of 6,500 square metres and it will be taken into use in spring 2007.
The maintenance buildings at other Finavia airports have also been modernized. The extensions to the maintenance premises at Kajaani and Kruunupyy were completed during the year under review and a completely new building was taken into use at Oulu Airport. The new maintenance centre at Turku Airport will be completed in autumn 2007.
Finavia’s most important task is to direct air traffic at the airport safely and efficiently. However, it has to simultaneously manage the terminals and ground traffic arrangements. Amidst the industrious construction work, public and private traffic arriving at and departing from the airport must flow smoothly, passengers must be able to park easily and above all the airport must maintain a pleasant environment.
Three new, large buildings are rising up at Helsinki-Vantaa: the extension to the international terminal, a hotel and the new car park building. The construction of the World Trade Center might also start in 2007.
“To ensure everyone has room in the rather tight area, we have to examine the airport’s traffic plan,” says
manager Reijo Tasanen. “Safety and the flow of traffic are the primary criteria for ground traffic arrangements
The new buildings and growth in traffic has resulted in a large number of new employees and customers coming to the area every day. Everybody’s needs must be taken into account.
“The airport cannot just be all tarmac and parking spaces. In addition to updating the traffic plan, we have started planning the landscaping of the airport, which will be completed in 2007. The aim is to keep the growing Helsinki-Vantaa Airport green and pleasant.”
Helsinki-Vantaa attracts entrepreneurs. The Aviapolis business area growing up around the airport is the fastest growing business area in the Helsinki region. Its excellent logistical location is of interest to entrepreneurs and businesses that benefit from good flight connections.
The most important areas that are being developed at Aviapolis are owned by the Finavia Group, and they are marketed by Finavia’s subsidiary company Lentoasemakiinteistöt Oyj. Finavia also actively takes part in the marketing of the Aviapolis area together with the City of Vantaa and other parties involved in the project. Several office buildings, commercial premises, logistics centres and apartments were completed in the Aviapolis area in 2006.
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