HEL is working hard to become a traveller's heaven. It won't be the largest airport in the world, but it's certainly going to be one of a kind.
Helsinki Airport has drawn up ambitious plans for growth by 2020, aiming to accommodate 20 million passengers by the year of perfect vision.
Finavia, the airport’s management company, has announced plans for new expansion which include providing a number of unique passenger experience enhancements, using technology to simplify the travel experience, and building only one roof.
According to Airport Director Ville Haapasaari, Finavia has studied dozens of possible plans over the years, and received considerable input from passengers and airline customers. The result of all this study is a plan to put everything in one place, under one roof, making it easier for the international passengers who will use the airport as a cross-over hub between the East and the West in one convenient, open, airy space.
“[The one roof design] allows us to keep distances short and services easily accessible and provide a customer-friendly airport experience. This concept makes it easier to boost the number of transit passengers. Transferring from one gate to another will be easy and quick as it can be done in one terminal,” says Haapasaari, “[it] is the best option in terms of operational efficiency and customer-friendliness. It is also an ecological solution because a single terminal reduces the need for services such as bus transport.”
Features of the new airport will include modern check-in facilities, with an emphasis on automation. The airport will have 70 varied “upgraded” shops, restaurants and cafés, including internationally recognized top brands, spaces for edification, rest and productivity.
Helsinki will continue health, well-being and fitness initiatives introduced this year—like Helsinki’s airport yoga program. Check-in, security control and baggage drop will all be consolidated at a single arrival/departure hall, making arriving to the airport and way-finding easier, and freeing passengers to spend more time shopping, dining, working, or working-out.
Key to all this growth, is Helsinki’s commitment to accommodate the larger wide-body aircraft which will make the airport an attractive hub into Europe and across to the Americas for the Asian market.
The project has a budget of 900 million Euros, and it is expected to add 5,000 jobs to the local economy by its completion date. Passengers travelling through Helsinki will not have to wait for 2020 for free unlimited High-Speed Wi-Fi, automated border control terminals, or to do their grocery shopping at the terminal before heading home. All those features, and a skateboarding invitational have are already been introduced at the airport this year.
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Photo credit: Interior renderings of a new Helsinki Airport. Helsinki Airport