Completion of the new centralised baggage claim hall means that Finavia's development programme at Helsinki Airport is close to the finishing line.

As part of the 10-year development programme of Helsinki Airport that ends in the autumn of 2023, airport company Finavia has completed the modernisation of baggage logistics at the Finnish hub. Outbound and inbound baggage systems, associated equipment and new facilities have all been completed.

“Our goal is to provide the airlines and ground handling companies operating on our premises with facilities, equipment and systems that speed up and streamline baggage handling. Passengers will see the improvements in the smoothness of operation and reliability of deliveries,” said Jani Elasmaa, Finavia's VP responsible for apron and runway operations at Helsinki Airport.

Thanks to the development of baggage logistics, the handling capacity of departing baggage has increased by 50% and arrivals are now served by one clear baggage claim hall.

Baggage is handled in a matter of minutes, so the airport systems and facilities, as well as airlines and handling companies, must work seamlessly together. As a result of the reform, the route of baggage from check-in to cargo hold has been largely automated, which means that almost 15,000 bags can be handled per hour.

The baggage handling centre at Helsinki Airport can process approximately 5,000 more bags per hour than before. More than 10,000m2 have been added to the processing area. The baggage line has increased in length by more than 3km. The capacity of the Baggage Hotel, i.e. the automatic storage space for early bags, has increased by 1,000 storage spaces.

This summer, Helsinki Airport's centralised baggage claim hall with its new equipment and facilities was also completed. The baggage claim hall has 12,000m2 of open space. There are a total of nine baggage carousels, as well as two lines for special baggage.

When the entire baggage logistics chain operates reliably, baggage gets swiftly transported onto the plane and from the plane to the terminal

Jani Elasmaa, Finavia

Reorganising all inbound baggage handling into the same area will improve the efficiency of airlines and ground handling, as they do not need to divide resources between different terminals or lobbies. A centralised lobby also makes travelling easier for passengers because all baggage is claimed from the same lobby, the airport operator said.

Finavia's reforms have been noted internationally, as well, with the Airport Council International (ACI) selecting Helsinki Airport as the best European airport of 2023 in its size category. Among the reasons ACI cited were operational efficiency and the successful completion of a challenging project by combining two terminals into a single centralised terminal.

“All in all, during the Helsinki Airport Development Programme, we have introduced many technical innovations and improvements that enhance the smooth flow of baggage. We are utilising new technology and digital methods to facilitate the operations of ground handling companies. When the entire baggage logistics chain operates reliably, baggage gets swiftly transported onto the plane and from the plane to the terminal,” said Elasmaa.

Image: Finavia