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Helsinki Airport's new Plaza and West Pier open in 2019. How does Finavia prepare for opening the new spaces for passenger use?

Article published
24.7.2018 at 09:00
Before the new airport extensions are taken into use, they are tested by airlines, personnel, commercial partners as well as test passengers. Testing is an important step in ensuring that the facilities function safely and effectively right from the opening day.

Helsinki Airport is expanding rapidly and an increasing number of passengers requires more space. Before the newly-built extension can be activated, a multi-week commissioning phase is needed. During this period the new premises will be tested by airport staff, airlines and commercial operators as well as test passengers.

“New parts of the airport are only put to use after the personnel are trained and the equipment is functional. We want to ensure that the processes are smooth and safe,” says Jenni Koskinen, ORAT Project Manager at Finavia.

The commissioning phase is an excellent opportunity to detect possible deficiencies in the new premises. If issues are found, there will be time to fix them before passengers begin using the terminal extension.

Plaza and West Pier taken into use in 2019

In the beginning of 2019, a central Plaza between the South and West Pier will be opened for passenger traffic. There will be a new security control area and numerous stores and restaurants. By the summer of 2019, the first part of West Pier will be opened, featuring gates for wide-body aircraft.

The second part, which includes the rest of the West Pier and the new baggage handling area, will be completed by the end of 2019.

In addition to the extension of long-haul flight area, Finavia opens a new border control and extension of Terminal 1 at Helsinki Airport.

Koskinen is responsible for planning, coordinating, scheduling and monitoring the Plaza and West Pier deployment phase. Preparations have already begun to ensure smooth running and timing throughout the start-up period. The commissioning phase is planned together with different units and operators.

“This is a great effort to activate the new spaces and processes into a functional whole. Its purpose is to ensure that when the premises are finally opened to passengers, everything works well,” Koskinen says.

Important test travel and test flight days

The functionality of the new areas will also be tested by airline test flights. Those flights will be analysed, and the necessary repairs will be made.

Before the launch of the Plaza and the West Pier, a test day will also be organised. It is important to receive feedback from business travelers, families with children, the elderly and people with reduced mobility.

“Our customers’ comments and opinions are important. They mean a lot when introducing new facilities and services,” says Koskinen.” says Koskinen.

Read about the test day of the new south pier last summer

Check how the expansion of Helsinki Airport will affect passengers in the next few years