Tom Batchelor visits Helsinki Airport to see the results of an ambitious redevelopment, ten years in the making

Helsinki Airport (HEL) has undergone a €1bn redevelopment to enhance the passenger experience and accommodate increasing air traffic. The project, which was completed in September 2023, focused on expanding terminal facilities, upgrading security systems and incorporating sustainable practices. But plans to capitalise on the burgeoning Europe-to-Asia travel market were put on pause, first by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by the war in Ukraine and the subsequent closure of Russian airspace. The development programme aimed to position Helsinki as one of Europe’s top airports, and the Nordic hub is now ready to welcome 30 million passengers annually. That number is around double the figure that passed through the airport in 2023 (15.3 million), which itself was up on 2022 (12.8 million). Passenger numbers peaked in 2019, when 22 million used the airport.

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