Helsinki Airport’s development programme, to be completed in summer 2023, is inclusive for all passengers. That is why accessibility solutions have played a major role in the development programme.
“Everyone must have equal opportunities to travel. Good accessibility solutions are not only important for special groups, but serve all passengers equally,” says Hanna Hämäläinen, Head of Passenger Services and Development at Finavia.
Every year, tens of thousands of passengers with reduced mobility, eyesight or hearing, or otherwise requiring special assistance due to, for example, old age, travel through Helsinki Airport.
“The new terminal is designed to make it as easy as possible for all passengers to move around. The distances have been kept as short as possible, everything is accessible with a wheelchair or other assistive device, the instructions are clear, and public transport is especially easy to access from the terminal,” says Nina Vainioranta, Service Manager at Finavia's Assistance Services.
Finavia provides disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility with services and assistance tailored to meet their needs.
“Our employees ensure that passengers can easily board their flight, get off the plane and reach the next means of transport. In practice, this can mean assistance with a wheelchair, for example, or with boarding the aircraft.”
In connection with the terminal renewal, Finavia opened a new assistance service point in Helsinki Airport departures hall. In addition, there are call points for assistance services at the airport, including in front of the terminal, at the train station, in the bus terminal and in the parking garages. At these points, the customer can contact employees who provide them with the necessary assistance.
Assistance services are available at the airport 24/7. Finavia recommends that passengers requiring assistance notify of their needs in advance.
“When passengers inform us, or the airline, in advance of their arrival and need for assistance, we will be able to respond to their needs more quickly.”
Organisations for disabled people involved in the design process
In cooperation with airlines, the authorities and organisations for disabled people, Finavia has ensured that the quality of assistance services and airport accessibility have been taken into account in the terminal renewal.
“Representatives of the Disability Council commented on the plans for the terminal renewal in advance. We used so-called virtual safaris to check together how everything would work. Based on the feedback received, we made major improvements in the final plans.”
In addition to assistance services, Helsinki Airport’s accessibility was improved in many ways.
“Customer elevators and signs in the terminal are now particularly well suited for visually impaired passengers. Today, the terminal has more accessible service counters with induction loops for passengers with impaired hearing. There are also more toilets for the disabled.
Towards equal simplicity
On the basis of customer feedback and observations, Finavia aims to continuously improve the assistance services it provides.
“We monitor passenger numbers and the destinations from which most passengers requiring assistance arrive, on a continuous basis. By means of suitable allocation of aircraft stands, for example, we can ensure them the shortest possible distances to everything.”
The objective of assistance services is also clear.
“We want air travel to be equally simple and easy for all passengers.”