Air travel via Helsinki Airport has been growing rapidly over the past few years. A historical milestone was surpassed today as the 20 millionth passenger of 2018 visited the airport.
“This is a momentous occasion for Helsinki Airport and the entire Finnish aviation industry,” says Joni Sundelin, Director of Helsinki Airport.
“The number of passengers has been growing faster than we predicted a few years ago. Back then, we talked about 20 million passengers in 2020. However, we hit that mark already this year.”
Up to 21 million passengers are expected to visit Helsinki Airport by the end of the year. The corresponding figure last year was 18.9 million passengers.
Sundelin says that responsibility is a key factor in the growth of Helsinki Airport.
“We do our best to ensure that the volume air traffic can grow responsibly.Helsinki Airport is already a carbon neutral airport. We use renewable energy and fuels and compensate for other emissions.”
Helsinki Airport’s 20 millionth passenger is Pia Inhilä who is flying to Shanghai with Finnair.
The increasing number of passengers is due to the growth of international transit traffic, the attractiveness of Finland as a travel destination and Finns’ increased tendency to travel by plane.
“All areas of our operations have grown. The majority of traffic is still within Europe, but Asian transit traffic, in particular, has been growing more rapidly than expected.”
The growth of international traffic at Helsinki Airport has continued to be stronger than at the other main Nordic airports.
“We are currently among the most rapidly growing air traffic hubs in Europe. We have established our status as a hub of transit traffic between Europe and Asia.”
Finavia works arduously on getting new routes and airlines to use its airports. The main airlines, Finnair and Norwegian, have increased their range of services considerably this year. In addition, the airport has secured new airlines as its clients. FlyDubai, for example, began operating daily flights to Helsinki.
“Hopefully, we will continue to acquire more clients next year,” says Sundelin.
“We expect Helsinki Airport to continue its strong growth, but we also assume that the rate of growth will become more moderate in the coming years.”
The rapid rate of growth at Helsinki Airport is, of course, a positive sign, but the rapidly increasing number of passengers also sets certain challenges for the capacity of the airport. That is why, already in 2014, Finavia initiated a €1 billion development programme that is helping Helsinki Airport to prepare for serving up to 30 million passengers a year.
“The next year of the development programme will be very remarkable. In February, we will open the new heart of long-distance traffic, Aukio, and later on, the expansions of the west pier, border control and Terminal 1 will be opened,” says Sundelin.
The construction of the new entrance to Terminal 2 and the new departure and arrivals halls will also begin in early 2019. Passengers will have to take the construction work into account when arriving at and leaving the airport.
“The new premises of Helsinki Airport and the entire customer experience of passengers will be world-class. Nevertheless, we need to focus on maintaining the level of customer satisfaction during the construction work,” says Sundelin.