Ready for departure: new airport terminal is cleared for take-off

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Helsinki Airport will debut a brand new terminal space for long haul passengers this month.

‘Aukio’ is designed to be a first impression of Finland showcasing design, natural wood and high tech innovations to add more facilities, more shops and more restaurants.

There’s also new baggage carousels and the country’s first full body security scanner to help with passenger flow.

“It’s an experience when you come to Finland, and come to Aukio first” says Katja Siberg, Finavia’s VP of Customer Service.

“This is really a window to Finland. They can see the different seasons, we have this big screen here that shows the different seasons, and also there is sounds of nature that they can also experience” she says.

The most striking feature of Aukio is the giant screen which runs around the entire space. It’s 75 metres long and two metres high, and shows the country’s changing landscapes. An interactive video projection wall allows travelers to touch the surface and play with images from nature.

Security facilities improved

The whole project to upgrade facilities at Helsinki Airport is costing €1 billion, and should be complete during 2021.

Included in the upgrade of 25,000 square metres of space are extra security checkpoints, where staff can check travellers with Finland’s first full body scanning machine.

“It’s new state-of-the-art technology” says Katja Siberg.

“We’re expanding to meet the growing number of passengers, and also to keep up the customer experience to the level we want to” she adds.

Testing the new terminal space

This week, ahead of the official opening, several hundred volunteers played the parts of passengers, and descended on the new West Pier terminal area to test it out.

The new shops and restaurants got a thumbs up from the testers who spoke with News Now Finland.

“Well I think this summarises the whole Nordic design picture” says Lauri Ahtola, outside some of the new shops. Several well known Finnish brands Iittala will have a retail presence in the new terminal area.

“I thought it was nice, and the Finnish design here is very calm and nice to look at, and this place is very spacious, it’s easy to move and there’s very many shops here” says Lien Högnäs, another one of the airport test volunteers who were recruited on social media.

All of the new facilities will help Helsinki Airport reach its target of being able to serve 30 million passengers every year, and solidify its position as Northern Europe’s leading long-haul airport.