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Commentary: Helsinki Airport’s award-winning development programme showcases Finnish know-how and wide-ranging cooperation

Article published
27.10.2023 at 08:43
Ulla Lettijeff
Finavia’s historic development programme at Helsinki Airport showcases Finnish expertise and know-how, as well as the seamless cooperation of many actors. This is a success story for the whole of Finland, writes Ulla Lettijeff, Helsinki Airport Executive Director at Finavia.

Finavia’s investment programme at Helsinki Airport began in 2013 with the aim of developing the airport’s customer experience, preparing for growth and strengthening Helsinki Airport’s position as one of the best airports in Europe. This is the largest extension project in Finavia’s history and an investment of more than EUR 1 billion.

As a result of the development programme, the floor area of Helsinki Airport’s terminal increased by 45%, which makes it possible to provide new, modern airport facilities for passengers. The employment effect of the development programme during construction is almost 17,000 person-years, and its degree of domestic content is up to 90%.

The actual extension of the terminal began in 2016, when we opened the first new part of the airport, i.e. gate area 50 A-M, and built new infrastructure on the apron: a modern aircraft engine test site, a new taxiway and a maintenance base. Since then, the terminal has expanded rapidly. In December 2021, we opened a spectacular departures hall at Helsinki Airport, whose iconic wavy wooden ceiling is the result of Finnish carpentry expertise.

Finnishness is the common thread running through the Helsinki Airport Development Programme. One of Finavia’s goals has been to highlight Finnish design and craft know-how. It’s important that passengers who land at the airport recognise that they have just entered Finland. Sustainable material choices and energy-efficient solutions in design and construction work are at the core of the development programme.

Finnish know-how has been recognised internationally: Helsinki Airport has been chosen as the best airport in Europe in its size category for three years (2018–2022) and as the best airport in Northern Europe for five years (2016–2023). We have received national and international awards and recognitions for, among other things, project management and construction, building information modelling at different stages of the project, architecture and design, as well as certificates for responsible construction.

Taking the Helsinki Airport Development Programme to the finishing line has required successful leadership and multidisciplinary cooperation. The development of operations will continue as part of our daily operations, as we want to continue to ensure the accessibility of Finland, provide a first-class customer experience and be the best airport in Europe!

We would like to thank all our partners who along the way have made it possible to complete this historic programme.

Further reading

The Helsinki Airport Development Programme has been successfully completed