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Airport expansion virtually

Article published
26.1.2016 at 07:00
What route will a passenger follow at Helsinki Airport in the future? How will passengers proceed from the security check to a gate or from the gate to the baggage claim area in 2020? These are some of the questions that can already be studied virtually now.

Modern building work is largely based on data models. Experts from various sectors start working in the 3D world long before any digging or sawing and hammering can take place. In this virtual world, they put up walls, build ventilation ducts, install electrical cables, etc.

Various 3D models created by engineers and architects can then be merged into one virtual model – just like action game worlds. 

'This is a virtual model based on the Unity software. We are using it in our Helsinki Airport development project at the moment', says Service Development Manager Juha Vasko from Finavia.

Virtual safaris visualise the designed environments

The virtual model of Helsinki Airport will be presented to different user groups in the course of the spring. 

'We are organising workshops called “virtual safaris”, where the viewers, wearing the 3D glasses already familiar from cinema, get to analyse and discuss the potential experiences of departing and arriving passengers. The virtual model takes us around the airport via different routes', Vasko explains.

'The virtual environment feels very realistic to viewers, and we often stop to consider optimal solutions during the safari. We start by looking at whether the areas and rooms are of the right size and in the right locations, and then move on to more detailed aspects'.

In addition to personnel and professionals in charge of the passenger experience, Finavia also takes experts of security and safety, maintenance, and operative functions, as well as its partners operating at the airport, on virtual safaris.

Enabling the world's best airport expansion  

Finland is a forerunner in the utilisation of the virtual model – after all, 3D design is quite common at Finnish engineering and architectural offices. Finavia has already used virtual models on some occasions, such as when planning the locations of signs and signboards at Helsinki Airport.

Vasko expects great results from use of the virtual model in the airport's expansion project.

'I believe that it will help everyone working at the airport to commit even more to our future plans and understand the upcoming changes better. The virtual model enables us to make our project the most functional, comfortable, and pleasant airport expansion in the entire world'.  

Read more about Helsinki Airport's development programme