The 20 millionth passenger is just setting foot in Helsinki Airport. He has arrived from Central Europe and is on his way to Asia.
In the last ten years, Helsinki Airport has become well-known for offering the most direct and therefore the fastest route between Europe and Asia, thanks to its handy location. The transfer time is short but our record-breaking visitor still has enough time for a quick bit of shopping at the airport's international top-brand shops and to pick up some souvenirs from Finland.
All this is happening in 2020 but it isn't so different from what passengers can experience at Helsinki Airport today. What you really notice is that the feel is just as unhurried and stress-free as it is now, despite the big jump in passenger numbers. Finland's main airport exceeded the milestone of 15 million passengers last December, and it’s predicted that in 2020, the 20 million barrier will be broken.
Helsinki Airport kicked off a six-year development programme in January 2014 to ensure that the unhurried, relaxed atmosphere is maintained. Finavia, who runs Finland’s airports, invested 900 million euros into Helsinki Airport; mainly for growing the capacity for departure and transit traffic and for developing services.
The first phase of the programme is set to be completed next summer. Terminal 2 will feature a new security checkpoint, the aim of which is to get all passengers through security checks in under 15 minutes. At peak times, over 3,200 passengers can be served every hour.
Summer 2014 will also see 12 new check-in kiosks and ten bag drop points at Terminal 2, and the shopping areas will undergo a complete renovation.
The transformation of the shopping and restaurant facilities will ensure that Helsinki Airport is able to offer a customer experience that exceeds all international criteria. This is supported by the contracts with World Duty Free Group and HMSHost; the former is Europe's biggest company in the sector and will start its operations in Helsinki Airport in March, while HMSHost is one of the world's biggest airport restaurant companies – it will be opening new restaurants at Helsinki Airport between 2014 and 2016.
Text: Tiia Soininen