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Airport Director's day with the Hawk Control Patrol

8.12.2016 at 13:45
Airports need professionals to ensure the safety of both airplanes and animals. As part of Finavia’s job rotation programme, Helsinki Airport Director Ville Haapasaari recently engaged in the bird and wildlife control work.

That morning Ville Haapasaari got dressed in a neon-coloured shell jacket instead of a suit. From his usual office, his workspace expanded to include the surroundings of the airport, as Haapasaari joined specialist Mika Rantanen to scan the safety fences with binoculars. Rantanen is a member of Hawk Control Patrol – Haukkapartio in Finnish – which monitors and drives off animals, ensuring safety in the Helsinki Airport area.

Animal control is largely preventive. For instance, flocks of birds are kept away from the runway by making sure that the area is unfit for nesting. Occasionally, however, birds and other wild animals end up in the runway area. That is when Hawk Patrol steps in and scares away the creatures with lights and blanks.

Rantanen opens up about a special situation. “Last autumn barnacle geese flew over the area daily. We had no other choice but to monitor them from a hill close to the runway. We constantly warned air traffic control about the approaching geese and they informed the planes,” he says.

A change of scenery - totally worth it

Even a brief change of environment – and a temporary break from one’s routine – can inspire employees and enhance their impression of their own work, as well as that of colleagues. In a complex working environment like the airport, it is essential that staff members see the big picture and work seamlessly together.

Finavia encourages its employees to take part in job rotations throughout the organisation.

Finavia carries out job rotations all throughout the organisation. Employees, for example, have even been sent all the way to Beijing. All members of the management team have committed to the rotations – which can be of different lengths and take place in different units – as part of efforts to get to know the diversity of jobs at Finavia. Management rotations are also a response to the employees’ request for management to become more familiar with their daily tasks.

“I had read about preventive animal protection before, but didn’t know how it actually works. Now I know what the job is like in practice. At the same time, I also have a more thorough view of the airport area,” shares Haapasaari.

Although new to the job, Haapasaari did not find Hawk Patrol duties to be completely foreign. Like some other members of Hawk Patrol, Haapasaari knows about animal behaviour because of his hobby: hunting.

Whilst on duty, the men spot only a flock of harmless magpies, but Haapasaari seems to be pleased. “When you hunt, you want to catch sight of animals. Not here at the airport!”

Finavia encourages its employees to take part in job rotations throughout the organisation, and constantly searches for employees to enter rotations of different lengths. The purpose is to share knowledge, increase mutual respect, and develop Finavia’s operations and service culture.

This article is part of Finavia’s annual report 2016. Click here to view the full annual report.