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Match Made in HEL: Building the catwalk on the runway

20.5.2016 at 12:40
On May 24, the runway will be literally synonymous with a catwalk, when Finavia and Finnair arrange an international fashion show at Helsinki Airport. In order to make the unique event a success, every detail of the arrangements is important to make all the pieces fit.

The Match Made in HEL – The Runway fashion show is the second campaign under the “Match Made in HEL” concept. The first one, in 2014, was a skateboarding event inviting top skateboarders to showcase their tricks in the epic setting of the Airport.

"The campaign is a means for creating international visibility for both the Airport and Finnair’s flight connections between Europe and Asia. It is a long-haul project carried out by a team comprising dozens of great people,” says Katja Siberg, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Finavia.

Marketing coordinator Mari Lappalainen is the person carrying Finavia’s end of the arrangements for the fashion show.

“It is the biggest and, undoubtedly, the most challenging single event that we have ever been involved in. The way in which various airport operations have come on board for the unique event has been just great,” says Lappalainen.

Visible professionalism

The fashion show creates visibility not only for the Airport and Finland, but also for the professionalism of the Airport’s staff.

Runway will be literally synonymous with a catwalk, when Finavia and Finnair arrange an international fashion show at Helsinki Airport.

Finavia’s Markus Haapamäki (top left), Sami Simola, Kitty Jansson, Joni Pekkanen and Pekka Pakarinen, and Mari Lappalainen (bottom left) and Joonas Alanne participate in making Match Made in HEL happen.

“We will be able to show how proactive work and professionalism in the field of airport safety make it possible to arrange an event like this. Instead of relaxing any regulations, we are actually making doubly sure that everything will run smoothly,” says Joni Pekkanen from Security Services.

Although the actual fashion show only takes about 30 minutes, the preparations will start to show at the Airport the day before. The set is prebuilt off-site and erected on the runway on the day of the show.

No disruptions in normal operations

The event is expected to attract about 350 guests, in addition to the 150 people involved in the arrangements.

“For the Airport, it is not that many extra people. Basically, it takes just one wide-bodied aircraft to transport 350 people," says Sami Simola from Apron Services.

Closing down a runway for an exceptional event like this takes careful planning.

“There will be no disruptions in the normal traffic. All movements will be coordinated with the air traffic control. There are many things that have to be considered, such as arranging escorts for the guests and delimiting and controlling the area,” Simola explains.

The only surprise element is the weather

A few days before D day, the arrangers are feeling enthusiastic and full of expectation. The arrangements have been carried out to a T, and the only thing causing any apprehension is the weather.

“The only surprise element is the weather,” Pekkanen says.

“But the show will go on, regardless,” assures Lappalainen.

Match Made in HEL – The Runway

– A fashion show arranged by Finavia and Finnair on Runway 2 on 24 May
– A unique way of combining travel and fashion
– Seven international designers from China, South Korea, Japan, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Finland
– Curator of the show is Tuomas Laitinen
– Follow the show live online on