A new central square for long-haul passengers has opened at Helsinki Airport as part of operator Finavia’s one billion euro development programme.
As well as an extra 25,000 sqm of space for passengers, taking capacity up to 30 million annually, the airport has added 55,000 sqm for aircraft parking and ground handling.
The new passenger area is called Aukio, and features an ‘event plaza’ simulating the seasons in the Finnish countryside.
“Locations where the event plaza’s 360 degree landscapes were filmed include Koli, Olos, Luosto, Yövesi in Saimaa and the Kalevankangas nature reserve in Mikkeli”, said Heikki Koski, Chief Digital Officer at Finavia.
“Passengers get to witness the breath-taking Aurora Borealis, vibrant autumn colours, a rippling stream and the whistling wind. The central element of the forest-inspired plaza is a LED screen that is seventy-five metres in width and two metres in height. This combination of special technologies is unique on a global scale.”
Eleven new commercial premises have opened, including Japanese restaurant Ajisen Ramen and the store Toyland.
The extension also introduces automation to the security screening process to speed up processing times, including an automated Smart Lane X-ray line, full body scanners and remote reading of X-ray images.
A new lounge called Plaza Premium, open to all passengers for an entry fee, will open towards the end of the month.
Finavia says it wants to create a leading European airport for travel between Asia and Europe, while airport director Joni Sundelin said tightening international competition was pushing Finavia to come up with ways to stand out.
“Aukio can rightfully be described as a display window for our country, as millions of international passengers get their first taste of Finland at the airport. Our focus throughout development has been on ensuring that passengers are left with an exceptionally positive impression of Finnish design, smoothness, nature and peace”, Sundelin said.
“Finavia builds its investment programmes and plans its operations based on four basic pillars of experience. These are the feelings of leisureliness, rest, Finnishness and security. The customer experience is at the heart of our strategy.”