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Helsinki Airport is ready for life-changing stories – Reijo, 90, shared an unforgettable story about his honeymoon

Article published
31.10.2023 at 10:56
Helsinki-Vantaasta historiakuva.
People & Aviation
Helsinki Airport has been part of Finns’ stories since 1952. We encouraged people to share their own travel stories. Read Reijo’s story from 1959.

“In early August 1959, my wife, Seija, and I were on our honeymoon at the Italian Alpine lakes. When planning our trip, I had decided to try to book seats on SAS’s 18 August flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki, which was the first scheduled flight to Finland by jet. I was able to get the seats, even though most of the approximately 80-seat Caravelle was booked for guests.

While waiting for departure at Kastrup, we found out that Armi Kuusela, who was crowned Miss Universe in 1952, and her husband, Gil Hilario, would also be on the flight. The flight was delayed by more than an hour. However, the time flew by as we observed the group, and there was, of course, some excitement in waiting for a new kind of flight experience.

The flight was very pleasant. We didn’t feel any vibration, and there was a clear drop in the noise level. We reached Helsinki Airport, which was specially lit up for the occasion, after midnight on 19 August 1959. However, Armi’s keenest admirers, including mothers and their children, had been waiting patiently. The technology of the temporary building, which served as the terminal, was apparently overloaded when everyone who was filming plugged their equipment in at the same time. The dark late summer night got an added special effect from that. Finland had entered the jet era!

Congratulations to Finavia on completing the latest phase of the magnificent terminal. However, people were setting out on journeys even back when the terminal was still just a temporary building! In that building, my wife and I began a shared journey that lasted more than 50 years until my wife’s death in 2010.”

—Reijo Pukonen, 90 years old

Helsinki Airport is ready for life-changing stories – travel stories are at the heart of the campaign celebrating the completion of the development programme

Main photo of the article: Helsinki Airport photographed in the mid-1950s. / The Finnish Aviation Museum