Launched in 2013, the Helsinki Airport development programme aims to maintain the excellent flight connections in Finland and to secure the airport’s strong competitive position as a hub in air traffic, especially between Europe and Asia.
The South Pier opened for passenger traffic
The year 2017 was an important milestone in the development programme, as the new South Pier was opened for passenger traffic in July. Built as an extension of the current gate 53 (previously gate 38), the South Pier features 7,850 square metres of new space for passengers on two floors: one for arriving passengers and one for those departing.
Moreover, the first moving walkway in a Finnish airport was taken into use as well as three new boarding bridges for wide-body aircraft, which make it faster to board the plane and increase passenger comfort. Prior to the inauguration, 200 test passengers were invited to assess the South Pier.
“According to the feedback from the testers, the new expansion is full of light, comfortable and a well-functioning part of the airport. It could be taken into use straight away after the test. Opening the south pier for air traffic is a unique moment in the history of the airport. I want to thank everybody who took part in the test for their important contribution to the development of Helsinki Airport,” says Henri Hansson, Senior Vice President Technical & Environmental Services at Finavia.
Helsinki Airport is now carbon neutral
In 2017, the airport also saw some significant changes in terms of sustainable development. Helsinki Airport became carbon neutral in July as it officially reduced its carbon footprint to zero. The airport received the international Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) certificate for this achievement.
“The ACA certificate awarded to Helsinki Airport is an important milestone in the implementation of Finavia’s accelerated climate programme at our airports. Our climate programme comprises a number of different measures, but Helsinki Airport plays a key role in the reduction of emissions," says Mikko Viinikainen, Vice President, Sustainability & Environment at Finavia.
Achieving carbon neutrality has required extensive reviews, which have been carried out over the course of several years. In late summer 2017, the first section of a solar power plant was launched on the roof of the airport. Once completed, the power plant will supply 10 per cent of all the electricity required by the new terminal extensions at Helsinki Airport.
The buses travelling between the terminal and aircraft are now fuelled by biodiesel produced entirely from waste and residue, and light fittings at the airport are replaced with LED lights whenever possible.
Finavia aims to decarbonise its entire network by the end of 2020.
Remodelling of the apron
A vast number of other changes were carried out throughout the year. The apron was renovated in an area totalling 157,000 square metres. Two new bridge gates and two outdoor parking spaces for wide-body aircraft were opened.
Next steps in the development programme
In early 2019, a large central square, the Plaza, is set to be opened for passenger traffic. Built between the South and West Piers, the Plaza will become the heart of the extension. An impressive space in terms of architecture, the central square will be surrounded by various facilities such as modern security control for transfer passengers, shops, restaurants and new services providing passengers with a true smooth travelling experience.
In summer 2019, the extension of Terminal 1 will be opened. The extension will include seven new gates. The additional passenger area amounts to approximately 3,500 square metres extending over two floors.
To be completed during 2020, the West Pier will be built between the current gates 34–36 of the non-Schengen area. The current arrivals and departure halls will be renewed and, following this renovation, they will be made part of the gate area reserved for flights to and from Europe. The expansion of Terminal 2 will begin after summer 2018 at earliest. According to the preliminary plan, the entire project will be completed during 2022.
In 2020, a new entrance to the airport will be opened, and Terminal 2 will be expanded to cover the area currently used for parking and public transport. This will make significantly more of the terminal’s facilities available for check-in, security control and baggage drop services. As part of the construction of the new entrance, a multimodal travel centre is being planned. The travel centre will be a hub for different modes of transport.