Helsinki Airport is the first point of contact for many passengers arriving in Finland. The airport's design aims to showcase Finnish design and expertise, not only in terminal architecture and material choices but also in its service offerings. Passengers, businesses operating at the airport and airport personnel were extensively involved in the planning.
As a result of the development programme, the terminal's floor area has increased by 45%, allowing for new, modern airport facilities to be introduced for passengers. The departure and arrival halls were completely renovated, and the airport transitioned into a single-terminal model. Additionally, the security control, shops, restaurants, services and parking and public transportation arrangements were comprehensively updated.
Helsinki Airport’s selection of shops and restaurants has significantly improved due to the development programme. During summer and autumn of 2023 alone, nearly 20 new commercial units opened at the airport, increasing the terminal's retail space to a total of 29,000 square meters (+ 3,000 m2).
The new travel centre conveniently connects various modes of transportation and provides seamless connections to Helsinki city centre as well as other parts of Finland. The travel centre links local and long-distance bus services, the Helsinki metropolitan area commuter train service, a taxi station and the airport’s various parking areas. For the planning and implementation of this transportation hub, Finavia received approximately 9.6 million euros in EU funding.
Finavia approached the development programme with its airline customers strongly in mind. With the expanded terminal level, new aircraft parking spots, passenger boarding bridges and increased baggage handling capacity, airlines can operate smoothly at Helsinki Airport and service their customers even better than before. Currently, around 50 airlines operate at Helsinki Airport, offering direct flights to 130 destinations worldwide.
"Helsinki Airport, opened for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, was constructed piece by piece over decades, with different parts of the terminal representing the design and architecture of different decades. Now, all functions and services have been brought under one roof. This enables a world-class customer experience, keeps distances within the airport short and makes all services easily accessible," says Kimmo Mäki, CEO of Finavia.
The decade long development has earned international recognition
In June 2023, the international airport organization ACI (Airports Council International) awarded Helsinki Airport the recognition of the best airport in Europe in its size category. Criteria for selection included sustainability efforts, operational efficiency, innovation and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Helsinki Airport has also been chosen as the best airport in Northern Europe five times (2016–2023). In addition, the airport has received numerous international awards and recognitions for project management, construction, BIM (Building Information Modeling) implementation at various project stages, architecture and design, restaurant services and certifications for responsible construction.
"In addition to the massive construction project, we have also achieved our ambitious customer satisfaction goal for the project. The airport's operations continued as usual throughout the development programme, and at the same time, the passengers' positive customer experience improved amidst the construction. Customer satisfaction with Helsinki Airport was already at a high level before the start of the development programme, and I am very pleased that it has continued to rise," Kimmo Mäki continues.
In addition to customer experience, the projects included in the development programme comprehensively considered climate and environmental aspects in material choices and energy solutions. The development programme had a significant impact on Helsinki Airport becoming carbon neutral as early as 2017.
"Sustainability is a prerequisite for the future of the entire industry and, through that, for Helsinki Airport's renovated facilities to serve passengers for decades to come," Mäki summarises.
Learn more about the development programme here.