“The runway comes under enormous stress, and its structures must be first-class. Continuous inspections and regular renovations ensure safe and punctual air traffic,” says Finavia’s Vice President Jani Elasmaa, who is responsible for Helsinki Airport’s apron and runway operations.
The renovation of Helsinki Airport’s runway 2 is a two-year project. In summer 2023, the renovation will focus on resurfacing the northern end of runway 2 (15/33), i.e. the transverse runway. Stormwater sewers and the electrical systems underneath the runway will be renovated at the same time.
In April, preparatory work will be carried out at the airport, and runway 2 will not be used for landings from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The renovation of the runway will begin on 2 May and end on 15 September. Finavia’s total investment in the renovation will be EUR 8 million.
During the renovation work, it will not be possible to land on runway 2, which means that aircraft landing directions will be different from normal. In May–September, landings from the direction of Nurmijärvi will decrease and landings from the direction of northeast Vantaa and Kerava will increase, which will also affect the direction of aircraft noise.
Propeller aircraft will take off from runway 2 in the direction of Tikkurila as usual.
The renovation of runway 2 will not affect the smoothness of passenger traffic at Helsinki Airport. The airport’s other two runways will be in use throughout the renovation and will ensure sufficient flight capacity.
Work will continue in the summer of 2024, when Finavia will renovate the southern end of the runway and replace the navigation and air navigation equipment. Other parts of the runway have already been renovated in previous years.
“The renovation of runway 2 is an important part of the lifecycle management of Helsinki Airport’s infrastructure. At the same time, we can implement the goals of our environmental work, because improving stormwater drainage also helps us in managing runway runoff water containing anti-skid agents,” Jani Elasmaa says.
In March, Finavia introduced a wetland built underground at Helsinki Airport, to which runway and apron stormwater is diverted. Finavia’s underground wetland is the first of its kind in the Nordic countries. The wetland improves water quality and balances the flow of water to nature.
Why is runway 2 also runway 15/33?
Airport runways are named after compass bearings. This is a worldwide practice.
The compass bearing of Helsinki Airport’s runway 2 is about 150 degrees, which means that one of its identification numbers is 15. Because the runway can be used in both directions, the other bearing is 180 degrees larger. This means that runway 2’s other identification number is calculated as 15 + 18 = 33. The numbering of Helsinki Airport’s runway 2 is a combination of both numbers, i.e. 15/33.
The name runway 2, on the other hand, indicates the order of completion. Runway 1 was opened in 1952. Runway 2 was opened in 1956 and runway 3 in 2002.