Helsinki Airport has opened the latest phase in a €1bn (£888m) development programme. Named ‘Aukio’ – literally meaning plaza or square in Finnish – the new space uses the cutting-edge technology and design to improve passenger experience and boost overall airport operations.
The extension adds a total of 359,515sq ft (33,400m²) to the footprint of the terminal. Of this, approximately 269,098sq ft (25,000m²) will be in use by passengers, with a further 592,016sq ft (55,000m²) of apron for aircraft parking and ground handling.
A highlight of Aukio is a central forest-inspired area equipped with a 246ft x 6.6ft (75m x 2m) LED wraparound screen displaying iconic Finnish vistas while simulating the four seasons.
The development also boosts Helsinki’s commercial offering, with a host of new retail outlets and restaurants. Leveraging the popularity of flying to and from Japan via the Finnish capital, one of the latest openings is Japanese restaurant Ajisen Ramen. While the chain has 800 restaurants in Asia, the Helsinki branch represents only its second location in Europe. In total, 11 new commercial premises are part of the new complex.
Joni Sundelin, director of Helsinki Airport, said: “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.”
It is hoped the expansion will enable Helsinki to serve 30 million passengers annually, helping secure its position “as a leading European airport for travel between Asia and Europe while maintaining excellent flight connections between Finland and the rest of the world”.