"Air traffic is important in a country like Finland, where the distances are long. Finavia wants to contribute to ensuring that Finland's main airports serve airlines and passengers in a professional, effective way. That is why we are happy that we can catch up on overdue renovations at main network airports in the next few years. At the same time, the airport investments will give work in various locations in Finland at a suitable time in regard to the financial trend," says Kari Savolainen, CEO of Finavia Corporation.
The government made a decision on the capitalisation of Finavia Corporation in late autumn 2013. Due to EU regulations, the €200 million capitalisation by the government has been earmarked for Helsinki Airport because the goal of Finavia is to return the government's investment to its owner as shares in the next few years. As a result of the capitalisation, Finavia's own profit can be used more extensively on the maintenance and development of the main network airports.
Finavia's goal is to implement the majority of the first €35 million stage of the network airport investment programme during 2014.
"We will also continue to develop network airports in a determined way in the future to the extent the company's business allows. If international air traffic grows as expected, Finavia has reasonable opportunities to develop demand correspondingly at its main airports. However, our financing is fully dependent on the demand for air traffic," says Savolainen.
Work at network airports in 2014
Finavia will launch the network airport investment programme at the beginning of 2014. The largest projects of the investment programme will be launched in Turku, Ivalo and Tampere, but renovation will also take place at several other network airports.
In Turku, Finavia will implement the renovation of the terminal building and will improve the airport's passenger services. Paved areas on the runway, taxiway and apron level of the airport will be renovated. The apron will be expanded to include four new concrete airplane parking spots. In Turku, environmental projects will also be implemented, which will further decrease the environmental impact of the airport's operations. Due to the work performed in manoeuvring areas, the airport will be closed during from 30 June to 27 July 2014. In addition, two winter maintenance blowers will be acquired for the airport. In total, €14 million will be spent on improving Turku Airport, mainly during 2014.
At Ivalo Airport, Finavia intends to expand the terminal building and renovate the traffic areas. The goal is to improve the airport's functionality and efficiency so that the airport will optimally serve the region. The purpose of traffic area renovation is to maintain the airport's operating capacity as a safe airport which operates in different conditions. Due to the traffic area renovation, Ivalo Airport will be closed during 4–28 August 2014. The total cost of development at Ivalo Airport will be about €9 million.
In Tampere, in cooperation with the regional authorities, Finavia will renovate and expand Terminal 2 and will prepare for renovating Terminal 1.
In addition, Finavia is preparing an environmental investment which will reduce the environmental impact of de-icing. The total value of the investments implemented with the region at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport is about €5 million.
Finavia will also continue to develop the terminals in Oulu and Vaasa where Finavia will soon complete major investment projects. However, the airport passenger experience development will continue in both Oulu and Vaasa in 2014 by increasing the level of automation related to passenger services. The look and commercial services of airports will also be developed.
In Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Kuopio, Finavia will begin renovations related to developing the passenger experience. This consists of updating the look of the terminal's indoor spaces, and improving passenger services, for example.
In addition, Finavia will acquire more than €5 million worth of security control devices and machines needed for traffic maintenance for its airports next year.
"As a result of our renovation and maintenance projects, the airport infrastructure of Finland will remain competitive and will provide air traffic throughout Finland with cost-effective, high-quality services. We hope that our input will help improve the status of air traffic in Finland. However, it is important to note that a high-quality airport is not enough to ensure well-functioning flight connections. The functionality of connections is ultimately resolved by the genuine demand for air traffic in each area," says Joni Sundelin, director responsible for network airports at Finavia.
Regardless of airport development, Finavia's goal is to maintain competitive prices at its airports so that the price level of airports does not cause any obstacles to the operations of airlines.