Finland’s EU Presidency period started in July and will last until the end of the year. This can be seen at Helsinki Airport as leaders of nations arrive to Finland for different summits. Helsinki Airport has prepared for the EU Presidency period especially in the VIP President hosting venue, located in connection with the business flights terminal.
“Finland’s EU Presidency period has a big effect on our work. July is usually a quieter month, but now we are preparing for a large number of state representatives arriving on scheduled flights and private planes – even every five minutes on busiest days,” says Pasi Laurinen, Commercial Manager of Helsinki Airport’s lounge and VIP services.
High-ranking guests can use their own parking spaces for private planes as well as the VIP President terminal area. Trained, multilingual VIP coordinators will pick up the guests directly from the airplane, escort them to the VIP President area and take care of all airport formalities on the guests’ behalf. Guests can use the VIP service when arriving as well as departing.
Cooperation on the apron and in the terminal
There are 15 VIP coordinators at Helsinki Airport during the EU Presidency period, which is twice as many compared to usual circumstances. During meetings and summits, there are also a number of government’s EU liaison officers present.
Every event includes a lot of organising and cooperation to ensure that all transitions are smooth. On apron level, the staff is taking care of parking and maintenance. Private planes are directed to park near the VIP President terminal and sometimes flags and red carpets are rolled out. In the terminal, we ensure that the right amount of staff is always prepared, from security officers to other professionals. Although there is a lot to take into consideration, the actual events are mostly very straightforward, Laurinen explains.
“VIP visits usually have very tight schedules without big ceremonies at the airport. Most often, the guests continue their journey to Helsinki city centre, with police escort if needed,” he concludes.
Although the VIP terminal is busy during Finland’s EU Presidency, passengers needn’t worry. The VIP terminal is separate from the passenger terminals, and so its usage will not cause overcrowding or delays in other terminals.