Yellow reflective vest wearers march decidedly towards the Helsinki Airport brand-new south pier. Not a single passenger or guest has stepped foot in the addition and the air is full of anticipation: what’s waiting around the corner?
Amongst the test-traveller group is Reija Hassinen who has decided to take part due to a fear of flying. She is joined by her son and his friend.
— I’ve always been nervous of flying and for that reason I’ve sought out situations where I can learn to be calm in the airport environment. Of course, it is also interesting to come see the new south pier as one of the very first groups, Hassinen tells.
Only yesterday, the area stood empty, and now the south pier is bustling with activity from the tester group. A bunch of kids run in between the chairs and at the gates, youth test the Wi-Fi.
On the other side of the open space, an elderly gentleman investigates an information touch screen. A little further on, an enthusiastic guide dog sniffs around beside its owner.
A boarding call echoes on the speaker system. Airport officials check tickets and guide travellers to the two-storey passenger bridge. This time the test passengers won’t make it into the air, but they await a spin in Finnair’s new plane as well as a bus ride around the apron area.
Over the day, there are many questions about the location of the much-hyped walkalator, with the answer coming soon enough around the bend. Located on the south pier’s upper floor, is the moving sidewalk, which test travellers couldn’t help but try even with the delicious smell of lunch nearby.
Aviation enthusiasts, the Hurskainen family, arrived at Helsinki Airport to celebrate the father’s birthday. The most memorable thing for the family’s girls, Anni and Emilia, was to be up close and personal with planes. Mother, Mari Hurskainen, particularly enjoyed the unique experiences behind the scenes.
— It was fun to test out and rate the new south pier, but most of all, it was great to get to see the airport and machines in places that are out of public reach, Hurskainen explains.
The day ends with feedback carefully collected from the simulation. At this very moment, the significance of the day and each participant’s contribution comes together: based on this feedback the south pier and even the whole airport can be made even better.
Look on the timeline how the development programme of Helsinki Airport is proceeding.