Finavia and Capital Airports Holding Company (CAH), which oversees the operation of more than 40 airports in China, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the establishment of a sister airport relationship. According to the MOU signed in January, Helsinki Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport are now sister airports.
“The MOU strengthens the relationship between the airports and enables the development of flights. For instance, we can share knowledge and best practices, create co-marketing activities, and develop the competence of our expert staff”, says Mikko Saariaho, Director of Communcations for Finavia.
Exchange of personnel gives Finavia the opportunity to study Asian service culture and become familiar with the needs and wishes of Chinese flight passengers.
“The lessons we learn help us provide even better service to Chinese customers, whose numbers at Helsinki Airport seem to be increasing constantly. We offer our Chinese counterparts ideas for digital solutions and snow-how, for instance.
Helsinki Airport’s role in traffic to Asia is increasing
This status as a sister airport to BCIA strengthens Helsinki Airport’s role as key gateway in air traffic between Europe and Asia.
Measured by the number of flights to Asia, Helsinki Airport is the fifth largest airport in Europe and a key hub. This year, it provides 17 direct routes to Asia and further destinations to almost all major cities in Europe.
The extension of Helsinki Airport’s network of flight routes brings foreign visitors to our country. Finavia believes that tourism to Finland entails significant growth potential in the future. According to tourism statistics, overnight stays by Chinese tourists have increased by more than 40 percent.
There has been traffic from Finland to China for almost 30 years. Finnair started direct flights to Beijing from Helsinki Airport in 1988. This was the first non-stop flight by a Western European airline between Europe and China.
Beijing Capital International Airport is an efficient airport
Beijing Capital International Airport stretches across 1,480 hectares, just over 30 kilometres north-east of the city centre. It had more than 86 million passengers in 2014.
Terminal 3 at BCIA is the world’s second-largest airport terminal. This building, with a total area of almost 900,000 square metres, would fit all the terminals at London’s Heathrow Airport, for example.
“Terminal 3 was put into use eight years ago and was constructed in a highly airy manner. It is a modern terminal, and very smartly built in many respects”, Saariaho recalls of his experience.
“On the whole, BCIA works very efficiently considering its size. This is also indicated by customer satisfaction surveys, which are at a high level.