The new south pier of Helsinki Airport was opened for passengers and air traffic on Monday, 10 July. The first flight from the majestic south pier departed from gate 54 at 2:10 PM to New York, operated by Finnair.
“On the 6th of July, around 200 volunteers took up the task to test the functionality of the south pier and verify that everything is working as it should. According to the feedback from the testers, the new extension is full of light, comfortable and a well-functioning part of the airport. It could be taken into use straight away after the test. Opening the south pier for air traffic is a unique moment in the history of the airport. I want to thank everybody who took part in the test for their important contribution to the development of Helsinki Airport,” says Finavia’s Technical Director Henri Hansson.
The extension was inaugurated on a historically significant day. Helsinki Airport itself was opened on exactly the same day 65 years ago. On 10 July 1952, the Finnish flag and the Olympic flags flew at sunny airport.
The new extension completed at the southern tip of Terminal 2 serves passengers travelling to Asia and North America, among others.
The extension features 8,300 new square metres of new space for passengers, three new boarding bridges for wide-body aircrafts and Finland’s first moving airport walkway. They will make travelling easier and strengthen the role of Helsinki Airport as an important hub in air traffic between Europe and Asia.
Finnish design on display at the south pier
The guiding principle behind the appearance of the new extension has been Finnish expertise and design. The impressive, diagonal glass walls offer passengers a unique and unobstructed view of the runway. There is altogether 4,500 square metres of glass surface in the south pier.
The materials and furnishings are Finnish by nature. For example, the walls have been coated with light-coloured, natural or black stained wood veneer. The veneer has been manufactured by CWP from Lappeenranta.
Passengers can await their flight in Karuselli chairs designed by Yrjo Kukkapuro, Ilmari Tapiovaara’s Mademoiselle rocking chairs or Alvar Aalto’s arm chairs. The Pilke light fixtures are by Tuukka Halonen.
The traditional airport furnishings have also been designed in Finland. The recliners and block seats have been designed by Kai Lindvall of PES-Architects.
The south pier is part of Finavia’s development programme. The terminal will be expanded by a total of 103,000 square metres. The building and inauguration of the new spaces, the launching of new services and the improvement of travel as a whole will take place in stages and be complete by 2020.
The next milestone of the development programme will be the inauguration of the central plaza in the beginning of 2019. The plaza will become the heart of the extension through which all long-haul flight passengers will depart and arrive.
What new features does the south pier offer passengers?
- The first moving walkway in a Finnish airport was taken into use. More walkways will be featured when the West Pier opens in 2019.
- There are now two new gates for wide-body aircrafts. The new passenger boarding bridges are so-called double bridges. With two doors, they will make it faster to board the plane.
- Two new outside parking spaces for wide-body aircrafts have also been completed.
- In addition, a new taxiway connection is now in use.
- Another new feature are machines offering cold and hot water free of charge. It is essential for passengers from Asia to have access to hot water as part of their daily lives, and Asian passengers are the fastest-growing passenger group at Helsinki Airport.
- The south pier that serves long-distance and transit traffic also caters to Asian travellers with large information boards of which the language can be changed according to the country of departure.
- Surface of the south pier: 8,365 m2
- Volume 42,672 m3
- Length: 178 m
- Design and planning architects: PES-Architects
- Contractor for the terminal construction work: Lemminkainen
- Contractor for the groundwork on the apron: Destia