Humans of Helsinki Airport: Mika Rantanen

People & Aviation
Published
4.4.2016 - 06:00
This man once had to shoot a deer at the airport, which was then fed to the lions of Helsinki Zoo. In the winters he keeps the runways clean from snow and ice. Meet Mika from maintenance in the second part of our Humans of Helsinki Airport series.

”I have been working in the maintenance department of Helsinki Airport for about 15 years. During the winter, I am the first man to steer our snow vehicles. I lead the plows and other vehicles that clear the runways of snow, ice and slush. I have to know the airport field like the back of my hand, because our schedule is tight and we work 24/7 even in the roughest weather conditions.

In the summer, I’m busy doing other types of maintenance work. For instance, I am part of the animal control team, which makes sure the seagulls, rabbits and other wildlife that wander onto the tarmac don’t put air traffic at risk.

The strangest task of my career at the airport happened about eight years ago. A young deer had wandered into a parking hall of a terminal that was under renovation and had hurt itself. I had no choice but to put the animal out of its misery while policemen stood behind me to make sure no one approached the area. I was told the poor deer ended up as a meal for the lions at Helsinki Zoo.”