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Down Memory Lane Part 3: Helsinki Airport in the 1990s and 2000s

12.8.2016 at 06:00
Air travel has gone through huge changes throughout Helsinki Airport’s 64-year history. In this series, we take a glimpse at the past and revisit rare photos.  

On July 10th, 2016, Helsinki Airport turned 64. To mark the occasion, Finavia is publishing a three-part series, Down Memory Lane, which looks at the past decades through photos. 

Part 3: Expansion and development 

Many may not remember, but the gate area was still open to the general public as late as the 1990s.  

President Ahtisaari opened the extension of the transit area.
The 1990s was a period of vigorous construction. In 1993 the new domestic terminal was opened. The transit area was enlarged and the new shopping arcade was opened in 1996. The VIP President terminal was completed in 1997. President Martti Ahtisaari officially opened the extension of the transit area in October 1996. During the same year, tower control moved into the new air traffic control tower.   

In 1999, the international terminal was expanded, and the new departure and arrivals halls – still in use today – opened.   

Photo from exhibition “Same place, different time” by Photographer Markus Kontiainen / Finavia.
Overlapping images of the check-in area in the past and in the 2000s.  

In 2000, passenger numbers at Helsinki Airport passed the 10 million mark for the first time. The 2000s was also a time of internationalization and digitalization. In 2001, Finland joined the Schengen agreement, and in the early 2000s Helsinki Airport also acquired its first automated check-in machines. 2004 saw the passenger area for the long haul flights expanded.  

Helsinki Airport terminal extension was opened 2009. Planning of the terminal extension focused on experiential services and travel efficiency. The terminals were also renamed as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

 In the 2010s, the growth of Helsinki Airport has relied mostly on Asian travel. The economic growth in Asia has helped increase passenger volumes at Helsinki Airport. Most of the Asian passengers travelling through Helsinki Airport are from Japan and China.

 The new airport expansion is designed with virtual models. Virtual design enables the most functional, comfortable and pleasant airport expansion.

In 2013, another milestone was reached at Helsinki Airport, as the annual passenger volume exceeded 15 million. The same year Finavia launched an expansion program: altogether 900 million Euros will be spent on developing Helsinki Airport, which expects to serve 20 million passengers in 2020. 

Down Memory Lane Part 1 and Part 2

Read more about Helsinki Airport's history.  


People & Aviation