Chinese passengers surpass the Russians at Helsinki Airport for the first time

Published
13.5.2016 - 06:00
Helsinki Airport growth focuses heavily on Asia. In 2015 the amount of Chinese passengers surpassed the amount of Russian passengers for the first time. The amount of Chinese passengers at Helsinki Airport grew by 50 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Some 300 000 Chinese passengers visited Helsinki Airport in 2015.This is 100 000 Chinese more than in 2014.

- The number of Asian, especially Chinese, tourists in Finland is increasing drastically. In 2015 the number of Asian tourists staying overnight in Finland increased by over 20 per cent. The amount of Chinese increased an impressive 40 per cent. This trend is naturally notable also in the passenger figures of our airports, especially Helsinki Airport, says Ville Haapasaari, Helsinki Airport Director from Finavia.

Some 300 000 Chinese passengers visited Helsinki Airport in 2015.This is 100 000 more than in 2014.

The amount of one of the past years’ most significant passenger group, the Russians, decreased drastically in 2015. Last year 280 000 Russian passengers visited Helsinki Airport, when the year before the amount was close to 400 000.

- Russian passengers have for long been among the biggest nationalities at Helsinki Airport. Now the situation of Russia is reflected in the passenger amounts at airports and tourism in Finland as a whole. In 2014 5 percent of Helsinki Airport passengers were Russian. Last year the amount was just over 3 percent. The five million residents of St. Petersburg area are an important target group for us. The train connection from St. Petersburg extends now all the way to the airport. We hope this increases the amount of Russian passengers at Helsinki Airport again in years to come, Haapasaari says.

In 2015 the amount of Chinese passengers at Helsinki Airport was 3,6 percent. That makes the Chinese the fourth biggest foreign nationality at Helsinki Airport. Among the biggest ones are the Swedes (5 %), Germans (5 %) ja Brits (4 %).

Last year the amount of Finnish passengers at Helsinki Airport was under 50 percent for the first time.

Finavia invests in Chinese passengers

In January 2016, Finavia was the first European airport operator to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of a Sister Airport Relationship with Capital Airports Holding Company (CAH). The MOU establishes extensive collaboration between Finavia and CAH, including the sister airport agreement between Helsinki Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, the biggest airport in Asia, in January 2016.

Finavia invests in Chinese passengers and aims to make their visit at Helsinki Airport as smooth and convenient as possible.

- Our website, mobile app and signage are already available in Chinese, and we have Chinese-speaking customer service personnel at Helsinki Airport. In May we opened Helsinki Airport an account at the Chinese social media channel Weibo, Haapasaari says.

"In May we opened Helsinki Airport an account at the Chinese social media channel Weibo."

Chinese tourists are an attractive passenger group for Finavia not only because of their vast amount, but because of the spending behaviour. Chinese passengers are the biggest spenders at Helsinki Airport.

- The most popular product groups among Chinese passengers are cosmetics, watches, jewelry and fashion, especially European luxury brands. Chinese passengers buy tax free products for themselves and as souvenirs. The feeling of a good buy is important among the Chinese customers, Helsinki Airport Commercial Director Elena Stenholm from Finavia says.

In summer 2016 Finavia brings Chinese speaking service guides to Helsinki Airport. The guides help the Chinese passengers with moving around the terminal and increase their interest towards airport services. The guides also help the Chinese passengers with shopping and recognizing Finnish products, a popular souvenir among the Chinese.

When measured by the amount of connections to Asia, Helsinki Airport is the fifth biggest airport in Europe. In 2016 there are 17 direct destinations to Asia. Of these five – Chongqing, Guangzhou, Peking, Shanghai and Xi’an – are in China.

Customer service in Chinese at Helsinki Airport

More facts and figures of Helsinki Airport passengers

Lapland attracts the Chinese increasingly

In 2015, more and more transfer passengers continued from Helsinki Airport to Lapland, famous for the spectacular snowy sceneries, Nordic lights, Midsummer night and the home of Santa Claus.

The amount of Asian passengers transferring from Helsinki Airport to Lapland increased by some 10 per cent.

The amount of Asian passengers transferring from Helsinki Airport to Lapland increased by some 10 per cent. The most significant increase was with passengers from China, Hongkong and Singapore.

Finavia is attending the Moi Helsinki event in Beijing with its partner Visit Finland 13.–15.5.2016. The objective of Moi Helsinki is to promote the visibility of Finnish culture, promote the business activities of Finnish enterprises in China and enhance the reputation of Helsinki as a tourist destination and investment object.