The highly exceptional period that began in January 2020 has affected air traffic and patterns of travel among Finns. Air traffic volume is currently 90% lower than in normal circumstances. Helsinki Airport currently serves approximately 6,000 passengers per day instead of the usual 57,000, and the number of passengers is declining day by day.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Finland introduced internal border controls and imposed a quarantine on passengers arriving from abroad.
“We all share the same concerns about the impact of the coronavirus epidemic and preventing the spread of the disease is Finavia’s first priority under these exceptional circumstances. We have taken a number of concrete measures and we are actively working to reduce the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Finavia is an airport operator, which means that we do not have the authoritative powers over passengers that some have called for Finavia to exercise. We cannot take a passenger’s temperature, intervene in their travel arrangements or take them into quarantine,” says Finavia CEO Kimmo Mäki.
Helsinki Airport is a significant link in the passenger’s travel chain and a hub of international air traffic between Europe and Asia. Accordingly, we have kept a very close eye on the coronavirus situation right from the early stages of the epidemic and implemented emergency management procedures even before the epidemic reached Finland.
An airport is a highly regulated and unique safety-critical operating environment where any change in passenger processes must be implemented carefully. Finavia has taken the initiative to change a number of airport terminal arrangements to increase space between people in queueing situations, for example.
It is also worth noting that the businesses that operate at the airport are important for Finavia and the entire airport ecosystem. We have recognised the financial difficulties faced by these businesses, engaged in active communications with them and agreed on various significant measures to support our tenants financially.
Measures taken and instructions provided at the airport
- Finavia requires the use of mouth-nose protectors of all airport employees working in the customer interface. All passengers are recommended to use masks at Finavia's airports.
- Finavia has continued the cooperation it started with the authorities and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in January and initiated internal measures to prepare for the epidemic.
- At Helsinki Airport, up-to-date coronavirus-related materials provided by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare are displayed in various areas of the airport and along the exit routes, including the bus station, taxi rank and train stations.
- At Helsinki Airport, passengers are handed written instructions about voluntary quarantine upon arrival.
- In the baggage claim areas for arriving passengers in the terminal, there are continuous announcements on the public address system in Finnish, Swedish and English regarding quarantine and the avoidance of public transport after a flight. Quarantine instructions are also displayed on flight information displays and digital displays in various languages.
- Finavia has continuously posted up-to-date information and instructions on its website in accordance with the current situation and the policies of the Finnish Government. We have also ensured that the customer service employees at the airport always have access to up-to-date information that they can relay to customers.
- The other airports where international air traffic is still possible (Turku and Mariehamn in addition to Helsinki Airport) have also implemented announcements on public address systems or other guidance by the personnel regarding quarantine. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s materials for passengers are distributed at all Finavia airports.
- Finavia has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces in terminals since early on in the year. Hand sanitiser has been provided in terminals near security control areas and the employees in the airport community have been informed of the coronavirus, hand hygiene and other practical measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
- Passengers are transported from aircraft stands to the terminal using apron buses to reduce contact in the terminal. The number of passengers on apron buses has been limited to 40 people at a maximum.
- A waiting area has been set up for passengers before border control to provide more space between people while they wait for their turn to proceed through border control. In connection with border control procedures, people are also reminded to maintain a safe distance to their fellow passengers and they are given individual guidance.
- Passengers arriving on domestic flights take a separate route to arrivals hall 2A. The aim of this arrangement is to avoid close contact between domestic arrivals and international arrivals.
- In order to support it's tenants, Finavia has temporarily removed or lowered rents,
removed earlier agreed payments and agreed on lesser opening hours.
- Every second check-in machine has been turned off at T2 departures hall to enable passengers to check in with more space. Floor stickers have been placed all over terminal premises to remind passengers to keep distance to other passengers.
Updated May 19th, 2020 concerning requirements of mouth-nose protectors, and written instructions handed out to passengers upon arrival.