Famous landings at Helsinki Airport: The Helsinki Olympics 1952 Edition

People & Aviation
Published
2.2.2018 - 09:00
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A brand-new Helsinki Airport received and sent off nearly 2000 flights during the Summer Olympics in 1952. Guests included royalty such as Dutch Prince Bernhard and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, as well as Olympic sports team from dozens of countries around the world.

Main photo: The Olympic team of the Federal Republic of Germany arrives at Helsinki Airport in Summer 1952. This was the first time after the Second World War that Germany was allowed to attend the Olympic Games. Photo by Volker von Bonin / Helsinki City Museum, CC BY 4.0

The Summer Olympics were held in Helsinki between the 19th of July and 3rd of August, 1952. The games hosted over 5 000 Olympic athletes from 69 countries, many of whom arrived in Finland through the newly opened Helsinki airport. Altogether around 2 000 flights landed or took off from the airport during the Games.

The largest participating teams came from the Soviet Union, United States, Finland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Sweden. The smallest teams were from the People’s Republic of China and British Guyana, which both only had one athlete competing in the sporting event. Both Germany and Japan were once again allowed to attend the Olympics for the first time since the Second World War.

Famous guests flew from all over the world to attend the games. High-level state visitors arriving through Helsinki Airport included the Duke of Kent, the Dutch Prince Bernhard and his daughters as well as Great Britain’s Prince Philip, who was warmly welcomed in Finland. Prince Philip’s de Havilland Comet aircraft is said to be the first jet engine plane that landed at Helsinki Airport – and Finland.  

Prinssi Philip

Prince Philip of the United Kingdom arriving at Helsinki Airport with his jet engine airplane de Havilland Comet. Photo: Olympia-kuva Oy / Helsinki City Museum, CC BY 4.0

The greatest sports star of the Helsinki Olympics was Czech Runner Emil Zatopek, who won three gold medals for 5000 meters, 10 000 meters and the marathon.

After the Olympics, all regular air traffic from and to Helsinki was moved from Helsinki-Malmi Airport to the new Helsinki Airport. 

Read about Nelson Mandela's visit to Helsinki