“We are proud to offer world-class facilities to passengers. I have not yet met anyone who does not become delighted when entering the doors,” says Henri Hansson, Senior Vice President for Technology and Sustainability at Finavia.
The architecturally stunning main entrance leads passengers to the departures hall whose undulating wooden roof makes an impression at first glance. During the day, the space bathes in natural light flooding in through huge windows.
“The terminal, its facilities and services have been designed as a new business card for Finland. For many, Helsinki Airport is their first contact with our country. Terminal 2 is mostly Finnish high-quality work of which we can be proud.”
One of the goals was to restore a sense of adventure and romance to air travel. The architecture is inspired by classical Finnish design, such as Tapio Wirkkala's Ultima Thule and geographical contours. The design of the roof plays with the alteration of lightness and heaviness.
The tallest passengers may even be able to touch the ceiling at its lowest parts. The roof made in Raisio is finished with true Finnish spruce. It consists of 500 unique CLT elements that have been positioned one at a time, like a giant puzzle.
“The visual experience supports the smoothness of travel. The colours and materials will guide the passenger through the terminal. We have completed numerous solutions to make air travel as easy and natural as possible,” says Hansson.
Huge employment impact in Finland
Finavia's investment programme, which has lasted for eight years, is in its final stretch as the new part of Terminal 2 opens. The project will be fully completed in 2023. The investment will have a significant impact on the Finnish economy as a whole. During construction, the employment impact was 16,600 person-years. Domesticity is an important value for Finavia, and it has been nurtured throughout the programme.
“It is great that so many Finnish companies have been able to meet our strict requirements. The domestic content of the EUR 1 billion development programme – that is, the share of the total investment taken by contracts with Finnish companies – is about 90%,” says Hansson.
The main contractor for the extension of Terminal 2 is SRV. The new section and the bus and taxi stations have been designed by ALA Architects, the new parking garage and the new connection to the Ring Rail Line by the architecture firm HKP, which is also responsible for the planning the alteration work for the terminal. Ramboll has been responsible for the technical design.
Environmental values and decarbonisation were at the heart of the planning. The terminal has been built to be 30 per cent more energy-efficient than officially required.
“Sustainability has been an important goal throughout the development programme. It defines everything we do; planning, construction, cooperation and maintenance. The extension for long-distance traffic has already been awarded an internationally respected BREAAM certificate for comprehensive sustainability work,” says Hansson.
Energy savings have been achieved, for example, through the good thermal insulation of the building envelope and efficient heat recovery. Smart luminaires dim and turn off depending on how much natural light floods in through the terminal's huge windows. In the new P1 Premium/P2 parking garage, vehicles are charged with solar power.
Passengers will be pampered with improved services
“Passengers, meeters and greeters will get to enjoy even better services. We have refined the customer experience and taken into account the high quality requirements of both domestic and international passengers,” says Finavia’s Ulla Lettijeff, Airport Director of Helsinki Airport.
The multimodal travel centre connects different modes of transport. The terminal can be reached directly from the new parking hall P1 Premium/P2 and the train station in just a few minutes. The covered platforms of bus and taxi stations are located right next to the exit of the terminal. Starting December 1, cars and taxis can drive directly in front of the main doors to drop off passengers.
Passengers arriving at Terminal 2 will go out through one centralised arrivals hall where people waiting for them can come to meet them. The arrivals hall will have familiar café and restaurant services suitable for any budget. The popular 24/7 Alepa grocery store, car rental companies and Finavia’s info service will also be transferred there.
“The convenient connection to the train station brings the services of Helsinki Airport very close to the residents in the nearby areas. With its restaurants, cafés, grocery stores and pharmacies, the airport will serve them well,” says Lettijeff.
The focal point of the arrivals hall is the Luoto diorama which brings Finnish nature to the centre of the terminal. Rough, moss-covered stones and carefully selected plantings bathe in the natural light coming in from a huge skylight. The nature elements link the Asian Ikebana to Finnish nature. It symbolises the significance of Helsinki Airport as an important European hub for transit traffic.
“The reform strengthens the position Helsinki Airport has as an international transit airport. The airport’s unbeatable advantage lies in its strategic position between Europe and Asia. Improved services and the smooth flow of transit traffic will increase Finland's competitiveness,” says Lettijeff.
Although the doors of the new Terminal 2 now open, construction is still ongoing. In the summer of 2022, a new security control and check-in area will be introduced, as well as the opening of the restaurant area. In 2023, the alterations to the Schengen gate area and baggage claim hall will be completed, and Finavia's entire investment programme will come to an end.
All changes on December 1, 2021 will concern those travelling through Terminal 2. Travel through Terminal 1, including transport arrangements and services, will remain unchanged for the time being.