Helsinki Airport

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Helsinki Airport
Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasema
Helsingfors-Vanda flygplats
Helsinki Vantaa Logo.png
Helsinki-vantaa aerial.jpg
Aerial view of Helsinki Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Finavia
Serves Helsinki, Finland
Location Vantaa
Opened 1952 (1952)
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 55 m / 179 ft
Coordinates 60°19′02″N 024°57′48″E / 60.31722°N 24.96333°E / 60.31722; 24.96333Coordinates: 60°19′02″N 024°57′48″E / 60.31722°N 24.96333°E / 60.31722; 24.96333
HEL is located in Finland
Location within Finland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04R/22L 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
04L/22R 3,060 10,039 Asphalt
15/33 2,901 9,518 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
m ft
H16/H34 310 1,017 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 18,892,386
Passenger change 16–17 Increase 9.9%
Aircraft movements 165,330
Movements change 15–16 Decrease 0.48%
Source: Finavia[2]
Statistics from Finavia[3]

Helsinki Airport[4] (IATA: HELICAO: EFHK; Finnish: Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasema, Swedish: Helsingfors-Vanda flygplats) is the main international airport of the city of Helsinki, its surrounding metropolitan area, and the Uusimaa region. The airport is located in the city of Vantaa, about 5 kilometres (3 mi) west of Tikkurila, the administrative center of Vantaa and 9.2 NM (17.0 km; 10.6 mi) north[2] of Helsinki city center. The airport is operated by Finavia.[5]

The airport is the largest in Finland and the fourth busiest in the Nordic countries in terms of passenger numbers. About 90% of Finland's international air traffic passes through Helsinki Airport.[6] The airport handled close to 19 million passengers in 2017, including 16.2 million international passengers and 2.7 million domestic passengers. On average, the airport handles around 350 departures a day.[6]

The airport is the main hub for Finnair, the flag carrier of Finland, and its subsidiary Nordic Regional Airlines. It is also a hub for CityJet (on behalf of SAS), Jet Time, TUI fly Nordic, and an operating base for Norwegian Air Shuttle and Primera Air. The airport is also a focus city for Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Helsinki Airport has around 50 regularly-operating airlines. The airport has around 80 scheduled destinations to other parts of Europe and 21 direct long-haul routes to Asia, the Middle East, and North America. There are also 35 charter destinations including numerous long-haul charter destinations.[7][8] Currently, Helsinki Airport has two terminals with a total of 29 gates with jet bridges and 80 remote aircraft parking stands.

Originally built for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, the airport today provides jobs for 25,000 people and there are 1,500 companies that operate at this airport.[9][10]

Finavia aims to strengthen the position of Helsinki Airport in transit passenger traffic between Europe and Asia, and to increase the number of direct connections to Europe.[11] Helsinki Airport's minimum transit time of 35 minutes is among the shortest in Europe.[12]

According to Finavia's survey, as many as one in every three passengers select their flight route based on the transit airport.[13] Airline passengers have several times chosen Helsinki Airport as one of the best airports in Europe.[14] In 2013, Skytrax World Airport Ranking chose Helsinki Airport as the best airport in Northern Europe. In addition, the ACI International Airport Service Quality 2012 survey showed that customer satisfaction at Helsinki Airport improved in nearly all surveyed areas.[15]


Opening and the first intercontinental service (1950s–1960s)[edit]

Aerial photo of the first terminal at Helsinki Airport in 1963/1964
Aerial photo of Helsinki Airport terminal area in 1969

The planning of a new airport for Helsinki had already begun in the 1940s, when it became obvious that the old airport at Malmi could not handle the increasing number of passengers or the new, heavier aircraft. A new site was found some 20 km from Helsinki city centre, in an area that today belongs to the city of Vantaa. It opened temporarily in July 1952 for that year's Summer Olympics, held in Helsinki.[16]

The first two Aero Oy DC-3 aircraft, OH-LCC and OH-LCD, landed in Vantaa on 26 June 1952. While Aero (now Finnair) used Helsinki-Malmi Airport, charter flights were directed to the new airport on 26 October 1952. The airport originally had a single runway, the second runway being built four years later in 1956. Regular jet flight operations began in 1959.

A new passenger terminal opened in 1969, while the first transatlantic service to New York was inaugurated on 15 May 1969.

New terminal and first Asian flights (1970s–1990s)[edit]

The year 1973 saw the first security checks being carried out for international flights. The name Helsinki-Vantaa Airport was taken in use in 1977.

In 1983, the airport began offering the first non-stop service from Western Europe to Japan as Finnair commenced regular service between Helsinki and Tokyo with a single McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER. In the 1970s, Pan Am operated flights from Helsinki to the US. The passenger terminal was expanded for the first time in 1983 and five years later, in 1988, the airport handled over six million passengers annually.

In 1991, Delta Air Lines began its operations at the airport. A new terminal was constructed for domestic flights in 1993. In 1996 the international terminal was expanded and merged with the domestic terminal. At the same time, the new control tower was completed. In November 1999, the international terminal was further expanded and the lobby for arriving and departing passengers was built.

New millennium and expansion of non-Schengen area (2000–2009)[edit]

In 2000, the airport handled over 10 million passengers for the first time in its history. The third runway was inaugurated on 28 November 2002 and the first user was Finnair's McDonnell Douglas MD-11 en route to New York. In 2004, the international terminal was again expanded and a new shopping area was opened for long-haul passengers. In 2009, the latest expansion of Terminal 2 was completed. The total floor area was 43,908 square metres (472,620 sq ft). The same year witnessed the opening of a new shopping area and spa for passengers on long-haul flights, the removal of a terminal-specific division between domestic and international flights, and the renovation of Terminal 1 for international flights. In the same year, TAP Air Portugal commenced service between Helsinki and Lisbon.

Significant growth and expansion (2010–present)[edit]

During the 2010s, Helsinki Airport has experienced large increases in the number of annual passengers. In 2010, the airport handled 12,883,399 passengers, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to 2009. Air freight increased by 29.4 percent.

In April 2010, Norwegian Air Shuttle opened its first routes to Oslo and Stockholm using Boeing 737 jets. Now the airline is one of the largest operators at the airport with almost 40 destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa. In 2011, Helsinki Airport saw its biggest growth in a single year in the number of passengers. The number of annual passengers was increased by 2 million passengers and the airport reached the milestone of 14 million passengers. However, easyJet canceled three routes, from Helsinki to Manchester, London–Gatwick and Paris–Charles de Gaulle, citing weak demand at the Helsinki.[17]

In November 2011, Austrian Airlines canceled its Vienna–Helsinki operations. In the same year, Czech Airlines ceased its Helsinki operations due to low demand. A year after, LOT Polish Airlines canceled its service to Helsinki. In 2014, a number of airlines such as Aer Lingus, Germanwings, S7 Airlines and Wizz Air canceled services to Helsinki.

In the 2010s, the airport has seen a huge growth of long-haul flights in terms of weekly flights (see Long-haul traffic below).

In the beginning of 2015, the renovation and construction work related to the development of Helsinki Airport started. For example, the Baggage Claim Hall 2B and Arrival Hall 2A were renovated and in July 2015, train operation on the Ring Rail Line and connection to Helsinki Central Railway Station were opened. In March 2015, Swiss International Air Lines started operations to Helsinki but canceled it a year after. In late 2015, Blue1 ceased all operations from Helsinki which was the airline's only base. The airline flew to 28 destinations in Europe. Scandinavian Airlines sold Blue1 to CityJet, which continues to operate the company on behalf of SAS as part of a larger relationship.[18] In 2015, the airport handled up to 16 million passengers for the first time. In March 2016, Czech Airlines resumed flights from Prague to Helsinki using Airbus A319 aircraft. On 10 October 2016, the first Gulf carrier Qatar Airways began operations at the airport and now operates to Helsinki by Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The carrier was initially planning to launch the service as early as in 2012. On 27 October 2016, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced to double its flights from Helsinki within next five years and plans also launch long-haul flights from the airport.[19][20] Finavia expects that the airport will handle over 18,5 million passengers in 2017 and around 20 million in 2018, in 2019 at the latest. Also in 2017, the airport has experienced huge growth in numbers of passengers flying intercontinental.

As of 2013, Finavia has been expanding the airport (see Future expansion below).

Life in HEL (#lifeinhel) was a Finavia marketing campaign which took place from 10 October to 9 November 2017 at Helsinki Airport. The campaign mixed TV, game shows and social media. Ryan Zhu, a Chinese actor and TV personality, lived in a little cabin inside Helsinki Airport for 30 days. Helsinki Airport was awarded the title of best airport in the world by Travellink; by the campaign, Finavia wanted to prove this claim.[21]


Map of Helsinki Airport.

The airport is nominally divided into two terminals, located 250 metres (820 ft) apart and linked by an internal pedestrian connection both airside and landside. In practice, however, the airside parts of the terminal buildings are not divided into Terminal 1 (the former domestic terminal) and Terminal 2 (the former international terminal) but to Schengen and non-Schengen areas. The terminal capacity of the airport is approximately 16–17 million passengers per year.[22]

Domestic flights, as well as flights to European Schengen countries, are operated from gates 11–31. Long-haul and European non-Schengen flights are operated from gates 31–38.[23] As the terminal extension is completed, the airport will have 60 gates altogether with 19 gates in Terminal 1 and 41 in Terminal 2.

In 2014, Helsinki Airport introduced the world's first passenger tracking system,[24] which automatically monitors crowd congestion and prevents bottlenecks at the two-terminal airport.[24]

The airport's signage is in English, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

Terminal 1[edit]

Terminal 1 (gates 5–15, as of 2020 gates 1–15) has 11 gates of which four are equipped with jet bridges. The terminal opened in 1952 and is the first terminal at the airport. Now the old terminal building is removed and replaced by the current terminal building. The terminal was used for domestic flights but as of 2009, it is also used for international flights. Terminal 1 is used by Star Alliance carriers, such as Aegean Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, and TAP Air Portugal. In addition to Star Alliance members, airBaltic and Vueling also operate flights from this terminal. Previously, Icelandair operated its services to Reykjavík from this terminal but moved to Terminal 2 on 13 April 2015.[25] Currently, no carriers operate long-haul flights from Terminal 1. The terminal has a train connection to Helsinki Central railway station.

Terminal 1 passenger facilities include tax-free shops, free wireless Internet access, power sockets, and lockers. There are also several restaurants, cafés and the SAS Business Lounge.[26]

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 (gates 16–55) opened in 1969 for international operations and, at present, also serves domestic flights. It is the largest of the two passenger terminals at the airport. All intercontinental flights operate from Terminal 2. The non-Schengen area of Terminal 2 has been enlarged in 2009 enabling the airport to accommodate eight wide-body aircraft at gates simultaneously while a new shopping area and a spa were opened for passengers on long-distance flights and the division between domestic and international flights was removed. Terminal 2 has many restaurants, bars and shopping areas. The terminal is equipped with 26 aircraft parking stands with passenger bridges. The terminal has a train connection to Helsinki Central railway station.

Terminal 2 passenger facilities include: numerous tax-free shops, Avis, Europcar and Hertz-car rentals, free wireless Internet access, power sockets, lockers, sleeping pods and transfer service desks. Currency exchange, cash machines (ATM), tourist information, an Alepa grocery store and pharmacy are also available. For children, there are also several playrooms. Dining facilities include Burger King and O'Learys Sports Bar as well as numerous other restaurants and cafés. Terminal 2 also includes two Finnair lounges: Finnair Lounge in the Schengen-area and Finnair Premium Lounge in the non-Schengen area.

Terminal 2 is used by member airlines of Oneworld and Skyteam airline alliances and most of the non-aligned airlines. Turkish Airlines makes an exception among Star Alliance airlines by using Terminal 2. Almost all charter flights are handled at Terminal 2 (which also handles scheduled services). The current airlines using Terminal 2 are Aeroflot, Air Europa, Airest, Arkia, Belavia, Blue Air, British Airways, Budapest Aircraft Service, Corendon Airlines, Czech Airlines, Finnair, Nordic Regional Airlines, Freebird Airlines, Iberia, Iberia Express, Jet Time, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, KLM, Nextjet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Nouvelair Tunisie, Onur Air, Primera Air Scandinavia, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, Sun Express, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, TUI fly Deutschland, TUI fly Nordic, Thomson Airways, Transavia, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines and Wamos Air.

Other buildings[edit]

Finnair head office, House of Travel and Transportation
Terminal building and the control tower at Helsinki

There are several airport hotels and office buildings on the grounds of the airport. The Aviapolis is a new international business park adjacent to the Helsinki airport area, already hosting the operations of numerous companies around the airport. In 2013, Finnair opened its new head office, known as House of Travel and Transportation, or "HOTT". The construction of HOTT began in July 2011 and finished on time in June 2013.

Ground handling[edit]

Airpro, Aviator, and Swissport provide ground handling services for airlines.


Runway 33 at Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport has three runways: Runway 1 (04R/22L), Runway 2 (04L/22R) and Runway 3 (15/33). Runway 1 is 3,500 metres (11,483 ft), Runway 2 is 3,060 metres (10,039 ft) long and Runway 3 is 2,901 metres (9,518 ft) long. The runways can handle take-offs and landings of the heaviest aircraft in use today such as Airbus A380. The use of three runways allows two runways to be kept in operation when clearing of snow and ice is needed (if one runway is being cleared at a time).[27]

Number Runway
(in metres and feet)
ILS[28] Surface Notes
1 04R/22L 3,500 m
11,483 ft
Cat. II
(both directions)
Asphalt The first runway at the airport
2 15/33 2,901 m
9,518 ft
Cat. II
(both directions)
Asphalt Primarily used for night-time landings
3 04L/22R 3,060 m
10,039 ft
Cat. III
Asphalt Inaugurated on 28 November 2002
The first user was Finnair's McDonnell Douglas MD-11 en route to New York.

Runway usage principles[edit]

There are about twenty different runway combinations in use. The primary runway for landings is Runway 2 (15) from the northwest, i.e. from the direction of Nurmijärvi, or Runway 1 (22L) from the northeast, i.e. from the direction of Kerava, while the primary runway for take-offs is Runway 3 (22R) towards the southwest, in the direction of Western Vantaa and Espoo. Aircraft with low noise can take off from Runway 1 (22L) towards the south at the same time. When the wind is from the north or east, Runway 3 (04L) or Runway 1 (04R) are usually used for landings, i.e. for approaches from the southwest, the direction of Western Vantaa and Espoo, while take-offs are made from Runway 1 (04R) towards the northeast in the direction of Kerava.

During the night time, landings are primarily made using Runway 2 (15) from the northwest, i.e. from the direction of Nurmijärvi, and take-offs using Runway 3 (22R) towards the southwest, in the direction of Espoo. Jet plane landings to Runway 2 (33) from the southeast and take-offs from Runway 2 (15) towards the southeast are avoided due to dense population in the affected areas. During night time, propeller plane operations towards the southeast are also prohibited unless otherwise dictated by air traffic safety. Air traffic safety is the main reason for not always being able to choose the optimal runway for noise control.[29]



In October 2012, Finavia implemented Airport CDM (Collaborative Decision Making) at Helsinki Airport. It is a procedure by Eurocontrol, the European Organization for Safety of Air Navigation, that develops airport operation by increasing co-operation between partners at the airport.[30] Airport CDM aims to reduce costs, achieve lower emissions, improve punctuality of operations and increase customer satisfaction at the airport. Helsinki Airport was the seventh European and first Northern European airport to adopt the program.[31]


Passenger operations[edit]

Finnair is the largest airline operating at the airport

Helsinki Airport is connected to over 140 destinations worldwide and over 50 countries by passenger services. Helsinki Airport has around 50 airlines operating regularly. In addition, there are numerous charter airlines operating at the airport. The airport is the main hub for Finnair, that operates over 1100 flights weekly to Europe, Asia and North America. The airport is also used as an operating base for Norwegian Air Shuttle and the low-cost airline operates over 230 flight weekly to elsewhere Europe as well as to the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

Main airlines[edit]

The following airlines maintain hub or base operations at Helsinki Airport:

  • Finnair is the largest airline operating at the airport, with an all-Airbus fleet of 48 aircraft (excluding Norra) based at Helsinki, providing scheduled services to the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North-America. Finnair operates flights from Helsinki to over 100 destinations, including around 20 intercontinental routes. All flights are operated from Terminal 2.
  • Jet Time is a charter airline that operates several flights from Helsinki to Europe.
  • Nordic Regional Airlines (Norra), a subsidiary of Finnair that operates to around 30 destinations in Europe. Norra has a fleet of 23 ATR and Embraer aircraft, all operated for Finnair. This airline operates from Terminal 2.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle, a low-cost airline which operates to over 30 destinations from Helsinki to Europe and the Middle East, operating from Terminal 2. The airline is the biggest operator at the airport after Finnair (including Norra) and has served over 10 million passengers since 2010.
  • Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia uses Helsinki Airport as a focus city with many charter flights to Southeast Asia and Europe. The airline operates from Terminal 2.
  • TUIfly Nordic, a charter airline that operates to Southeast Asia, Europe and Caribbean in North-America. The airline operates from Terminal 2.

The passenger number has been growing fastly since 2010, but especially since 2014. In 2017, Helsinki Airport has experienced the third highest growth rate and the second biggest increase in passenger numbers in the last 20 years. On 13 December 2017, the airport reached the milestone of 18 million passengers first time ever.

Cargo operations[edit]

TNT Airways Boeing 737-400F aircraft at its cargo terminal and DHL Aviation A300-600F in the background.

Helsinki Airport has been one of the largest airports among the Nordic countries by freight handled. In 2012, the airport handled 192,204 tonnes cargo making the airport the largest one in the Nordics in tonnes of cargo handled that year.

Helsinki Airport has extensive cargo flight activity. There is a cargo area with cargo terminals and cargo transit facilities in the Southeastern part of the airport area. ASL Airlines Belgium (formerly TNT Airways) and DHL have their own cargo terminals at the airport. Currently scheduled cargo operating airlines are AirBridgeCargo Airlines operated with Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, ASL Airlines Belgium, DHL Aviation (operated by EAT Leipzig and DHL Air UK), FedEx, UPS Airlines and Turkish Airlines that operates cargo services to HEL from Istanbul, Oslo and Stockholm with Airbus A310F and A330F aircraft. In addition to scheduled cargo operations, many other cargo airlines have random operations at Helsinki Airport.

The construction of a new freight terminal (35,000 m2 or 380,000 sq ft) began in March 2015 and will be inaugurated on 8 January 2018. The capacity of the terminal is 350,000 tonnes but the theoretical capacity is up to 450,000 tonnes. The freight capacity of the airport is being expanded to accommodate the growing freight capacity that will be provided by Finnair's Airbus A350 XWB fleet. Finnair's freight operations continued in the previous location until relocation to the new freight terminal in December 2017.[32] The name of the new terminal is Cool Nordic Cargo Hub, but is branded COOL for its modern technology and capacity to handle high volumes of temperature-controlled cargo. A new operations monitoring and tracking platform, "Cargo Eye", is used in the new freight terminal. That gives the new Cargo Control Center a live view of what is happening across the cargo network and where everything is located.[33] The terminal has 29 stands for truck transports.[34]

Long-haul traffic[edit]

The airport saw its first long-haul route on 15 May 1969 when Finnair commenced flights to New York City via Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The first non-stop routes to Eastern Asia was commenced in 1983 with Finnair's flight to Tokyo, and Beijing five years after.

In the beginning of the decade, Helsinki Airport had only one trans-Atlantic service, to New York-JFK. In May 2011, Helsinki's trans-Atlantic services enhanced as American Airlines opened a new summer seasonal service between Helsinki and Chicago, using the Boeing 767-300ER.[35] However, the airline canceled service in 2014 as the route was converted to Finnair. In 2014, Finnair resumed service to Miami and in mid-2017, the airline re-connected Helsinki Airport to California after a long break by the new service to San Francisco.

In 2012, Helsinki Airport gained another daily service to Tokyo as Japan Airlines commenced service to Helsinki using Boeing 787 Dreamliners and in the summer of 2018, there will be up to three daily (21 weekly) flights to Tokyo. The airport gained its first Gulf carrier service in 2016 as Qatar Airways commenced the service. The airline started with Airbus A320 but is now operating with Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. As of 14 December 2017, the airline has been operating up to twice daily between Doha and Helsinki.

Nowadays, Helsinki Airport is an important transfer airport between Europe and Asia. In 2016, Helsinki Airport handled approximately 2.7 million transfer passengers, which is around 5.2 percent more than in 2015.[36] In total, there are 40 intercontinental routes to destinations connected to Helsinki Airport in Asia, North America and the Middle East. Eight of all intercontinental routes are trans-Atlantic services to New York (JFK), Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Cancún, Havana, Puerto Plata and Puerto Vallarta. As of May 2018, 24 of all 40 intercontinental routes to Asia, including Astana, Bangkok, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Colombo, Delhi, Fukuoka, Goa, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Krabi, Kunming, Nagoya, Nanjing, Osaka, Phuket, Phu Quoc, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Xi'an. Five routes are to the Middle East, including Aqaba, Doha, Dubai, Eilat and Tel Aviv. The rest three routes are to Africa, including Banjul, Marrakech and Mauritius. Over 100 weekly frequencies, operated by Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways, are flown to Asia. Royal Jordanian, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and TUI Airways also operate intercontinental charter routes.

Also, Norwegian Air Shuttle has announced that the low-cost airline considers starting long-haul operations from the airport in 2018.[37]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Helsinki Airport offers non-stop flights to 145 destinations in over 50 countries around the world. These include over 120 cities in Europe and the Middle East, over 20 in Asia, and 7 in North America.[38] As of March 2018, the airport has four passenger airlines regurarly flying wide-body aircraft here, including Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, all at least daily. The following airlines offer flights at Helsinki Airport:

Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens
Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo
airBaltic Riga
Belavia Minsk
Blue Air Bucharest
BRA Braathens Regional Airlines Malmö (begins 16 April 2018), Stockholm–Bromma
Seasonal: Visby
British Airways London–Heathrow
Corendon Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya[39]
Croatia Airlines Seasonal: Zagreb
Czech Airlines Prague
easyJet Berlin–Tegel[40]
Finnair Alicante,[41] Amsterdam, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing–Capital, Berlin–Tegel, Billund, Brussels, Budapest, Chongqing, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh,[42] Frankfurt, Gazipaşa,[43] Gdańsk, Geneva, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Ivalo, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kajaani, Kemi, Kittilä, Kraków, Kokkola, Kuopio, Kuusamo, Lisbon (resumes 1 June 2018),[44][45] London–Heathrow, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Mariehamn, Milan–Malpensa, Minsk (begins 9 June 2018),[46] Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Munich, Nagoya–Centrair, Nanjing (begins 13 May 2018),[47] New York–JFK, Osaka–Kansai, Oslo–Gardermoen, Oulu, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Reykjavík–Keflavík, Rome–Fiumicino, Rovaniemi, Riga, Saint Petersburg, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stockholm–Bromma, Stuttgart (resumes 23 April 2018),[44] Tallinn, Tampere, Tartu, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tokyo–Narita, Turku, Umeå, Vaasa, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin, Yekaterinburg, Zürich
Seasonal: Antalya, Astana, Athens, Bergen, Biarritz, Catania, Chania, Chicago–O'Hare, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubai–Al Maktoum, Dubai–International, Dubrovnik, Eilat–Ovda, Enontekiö (PSO), Fuerteventura, Fukuoka, Funchal, Goa, Gran Canaria, Guangzhou, Havana, Heraklion, Ho Chi Minh City, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Kazan, Kos, Krabi, Lanzarote, Ljubljana, Lyon (begins 11 December 2018),[48] Malta, Menorca, Miami, Mytilene, Naples, Nice, Paphos, Palma de Mallorca, Phuket, Pisa, Preveza, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Pula, Rhodes, Rimini, Salzburg, Samara, San Francisco, Santorini, Skiathos, Split, Tenerife–North, Tenerife–South, Varna, Venice, Verona, Visby, Xi'an, Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Murmansk
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya[49]
Germania Seasonal: Pristina (begins 30 March 2018)[50]
Icelandair Reykjavík–Keflavík
Japan Airlines Tokyo–Narita
Jet Time Seasonal charter: Antalya, Bodrum, Bourgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gazipaşa, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Kavala, Kos, Lanzarote, La Palma, Menorca, Marsa Alam, Mytilini, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Split, Tirana (begins 11 May 2018), Tivat, Zakynthos
KLM Amsterdam
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Montenegro Airlines Seasonal charter: Tivat [51]
Nextjet Pori (PSO)
Norwegian Air Shuttle Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Gran Canaria, Kraków (begins 26 March 2018),[52] London–Gatwick, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Oslo–Gardermoen, Oulu, Palma de Mallorca, Paris–Orly, Prague, Rome–Fiumicino, Rovaniemi, Stockholm–Arlanda
Seasonal: Athens, Burgas, Chania, Corfu, Dubai–International, Dubrovnik, Ivalo, Kittilä, Larnaca, Marrakech, Pristina, Pula, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Tenerife South, Varna, Venice
Novair Seasonal charter: Fuerteventura, Sal[53]
Nouvelair Tunisie Seasonal charter: Monastir[54]
Qatar Airways Doha
RAF-Avia Savonlinna (PSO)
Royal Jordanian Seasonal charter: Aqaba
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Málaga, Oslo–Gardermoen, Stockholm–Arlanda
Small Planet Airlines Seasonal charter: Chania,[54] Rhodes[54]
SunExpress Seasonal: İzmir
Seasonal charter: Antalya[55]
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal charter: Banjul, Bourgas, Chania, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Hurghada, Larnaca, Palma de Mallorca, Phuket, Phú Quốc, Preveza, Rhodes, Sal, Split, Tenerife North, Tenerife South, Varna
Transavia Amsterdam
TUI Airways Seasonal charter: Cancún, Chania (begins 26 April 2018),[56] Colombo, Krabi, Mauritius, Phuket, Phú Quốc,[57][58] Rhodes (begins 20 April 2018),[56] Sal
TUI fly Nordic Seasonal charter: Alghero, Antalya, Boavista, Bourgas, Catania, Chania, Corfu, Gran Canaria, Kos, Krabi, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Phuket, Rhodes, Sal, Samos, Split, Tenerife North, Tenerife South, Zakynthos
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
Vueling Barcelona[59]
Widerøe Bergen (begins 15 May 2018), Tromsø (begins 19 May 2018)


Airlines Destinations
AirBridgeCargo Airlines Frankfurt, Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Airest Tallinn
ASL Airlines Belgium Liège, Turku, Örebro
DHL Aviation Brussels, Gothenburg,[60][61] Leipzig/Halle, London–Heathrow
FedEx Express Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Stockholm–Arlanda, Copenhagen
Nord-Flyg Mariehamn
Pskovavia Saint Petersburg
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul–Atatürk, Oslo–Gardermoen, Stockholm–Arlanda
UPS Airlines Cologne/Bonn, Malmö, Stockholm–Arlanda


Airbus A350-900 as part of the Finnair's fleet

Helsinki Airport is the 4th busiest airport in the Nordic countries and the 29th busiest in Europe, serving over 18.9 million passengers in 2017. Helsinki has the largest number of Asian destinations of all Nordic airports. In 2015, the airport was the fifth busiest airport in Europe in terms of flights to Asia.[62] When ranked by connectivity, the airport is the best-connected airport in Northern Europe with around 10,000 connections worldwide, 85% more than in Copenhagen which is the 2nd best-connected airport in the Nordics. The number of connections from Helsinki Airport has grown by 96% in a decade. In Europe, the airport is the 12th best-connected airport. According to Airports Council International (ACI), Helsinki Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the Europe.[63]

In 2016, Germany was the largest market for Helsinki Airport, followed by Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands and France. The busiest routes are to Western Europe. Routes to Stockholm (Arlanda and Bromma), London (Gatwick and Heathrow) and Copenhagen are the major international routes with 1,270,044 passengers, 897 408 passengers and 788,892 passengers respectively. Intercontinentally Japan is the biggest market, followed by China. Around 2.4 million passengers travel to North America and Asia, of which approximately one million is to China and Japan. Two major intercontinental routes are to Tokyo and Bangkok with 21 (in 2018) and 16 weekly flights respectively in peak periods. Other major intercontinental routes are to Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore, all of which have grown significantly in the number of passengers in 2017.

In 2016, passengers from Japan, China, South Korea and United States made up the 4 largest groups of non-EU travellers at Helsinki Airport. The airport handled 386,269 Japanese passengers, 321,406 Chinese passengers, 135,849 Korean passengers and 98,163 US citizens. Other major nationalities were Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Taiwan, Israel and Indonesia.[64]

Passenger numbers at Helsinki Airport have grown significantly since the turn of the century. In 2000, the airport handled around 10 million passengers and in 2009 only 2.6 million passengers more (12.6 million in total). Finavia expects Helsinki Airport to handle over 18.5 million passengers in 2017, over 20 million passengers by 2019 and over 30 million passengers in 2035.[65]

Ground transportation[edit]


Helsinki Airport rail services
Tampere, Lahti
Helsinki Central
Helsinki Airport Railway Station

The railway link to the airport opened for traffic in July 2015[72] and serves local commuter trains running at 10-minute intervals during peak periods. The westbound commuter line ”I” runs to Helsinki Central station via Huopalahti in just over 30 minutes, while the eastbound commuter line "P" runs to Helsinki Central Station via Tikkurila in just under 30 minutes. Eastbound trains stop at Tikkurila (8 minutes away) where passengers can transfer to long-distance trains going away from Helsinki, in the directions of Tampere and Lahti, including lines to Saint Petersburg and Moscow.[73]

The last P service downtown leaves nightly at 01:01 (01:31 on Fridays and Saturdays). During the night time service break, bus lines 562N to Tikkurila railway station and 615 to downtown Helsinki provide night service to and from the Airport.

Plans also exist for a direct connection between Helsinki Central, the airport, and the long-distance rail network via Kerava. This line, known as Lentorata, is projected to run in a tunnel for most of its approximately 30 km length.[74]


Taxi ranks are located outside Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.[75]


There is regular bus service by bus line 615 from the airport to Helsinki Central railway station and to major hotels and railway stations in the Greater Helsinki area that operates 24-hours a day, mostly every half hour.[76] The chief operator of these services is the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL). A direct coach service by Finnair is also available to and from the city center (usually about 30 min). This service is run on a special tariff.[77] Complete list of local services is available at the HSL-website.

Coach connections, daytime and overnight, to all parts of Finland are provided by Matkahuolto and ExpressBus. They depart from the airport coach terminal.

Means of transport at Helsinki Airport
Means of transport Operator Route Destinations Website Notes
Bus Bus Helsinki Regional Transport Authority 415, 562N, 615 Helsinki Central railway station (615) (Finnish: Rautatientori)

Elielinaukio (415)

Tikkurila railway station - Mellunmäki (562N) (Night service)
Pohjolan Liikenne Finnair City Bus Helsinki Central railway station
Matkahuolto Hämeenlinna, Imatra, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kajaani, Kotka, Kouvola, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Lohja, Mikkeli, Oulu, Porvoo, Salo, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa
Train Train VR P Helsinki Central railway station (via Tikkurila railway station)
VR I Helsinki Central railway station (via Huopalahti railway station)

Future expansion and plans[edit]

Finnair Airbus A319 taxiing. Terminal expansion construction site in the background.
The layout of the non-Schengen area in 2020.

Master plan 2020[edit]

In October 2013, Finavia received a capital injection of 200 million euros from the Finnish state. The investment enabled Finavia to start a development programme worth of 900 million euros at Helsinki Airport, aiming at maintaining the strong position of Helsinki Airport in transit traffic between Europe and Asia. The programme started in January 2014 and is planned to last until February 2020.[78] It is expected to generate about 14,000 person-years of employment. Helsinki Airport is expected to serve 20 million passengers per year by 2020 and add about 5,000 new jobs at the airport.[13] The expansion will increase capacity at the airport to 30 million passengers.

Development timeline[edit]

Among the completed and planned projects are:[79]

  • Completed projects
    • Renewal of Baggage Claim Hall 2B – completed January 2015
    • Renovation of Arrival Hall 2A – completed June 2015
    • Train connection – completed July 2015
    • Renovation of Runway 1 – completed August 2015
    • New bus terminal for remote aircraft stand operations – completed June 2016
    • 3,000 new parking spaces – completed August 2016
    • New aircraft engine test site – completed October 2016
    • The new south pier – completed June 2017
    • Finnair's new cargo terminal – Late 2017
  • Planned projects, projects under construction
    • Scandic hotel – first half of 2018
    • The new central plaza – January 2019
    • Expansion of Terminal 1 – June 2019
    • The new west pier – 2019[80]
    • New main entrance – 2020

Terminal expansion[edit]

Helsinki Airport has capacity for about 17 million passengers annually, although this number was passed in 2016. Finavia decided to expand the current terminal building to respond to the expected passenger growth within the following years.

Part of the plan was to build a satellite terminal next to Terminal 2, but the plan was canceled in favor of expansion under a single terminal building.[81] In September 2014, Finavia revealed more detailed plans for the future expansion that will take place between 2014 and 2020. According to the plan Terminals 1 and 2 will be combined and expanded under one roof. This expansion work is one of Finland's largest construction projects. The expansion was designed by the Finnish architects’ office PES-Architects. The same office designed the previous Helsinki Airport expansions completed in 1996 and 1999, as well as the circular parking buildings in front of the terminal.[82] The surface area will increase by 45%, luggage handling capacity will increase by 50%. The entire surface area of the terminal in 2020 will be approximately 250,000 square metres (2,700,000 sq ft)[83]

Expansion of Terminal 1[edit]

Finavia plans to expand Terminal 1, which is used for flights within the Schengen area. The construction is scheduled to be started in November 2017. Terminal 1 will be expanded by four separate departure gate buildings which will be connected by walking corridors. Each building will have one departure gate excluding one, which will have three gates. Gates (5–11) will not be equipped with jet bridges. Buildings will have two floors.[84][85]

Expansion of Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 will have new gates (8 additional gates to Terminal 2) and aircraft stands on the apron.[86] All gates for long-haul flights will have double jet bridges (such as the ones at Incheon International Airport) to enable handling larger aircraft more efficiently. Finavia has signed a contract with Thyssen Krupp Airport Systems for 16 widebody aircraft stands with up to 33 new jet bridges. New jet bridges were installed to gates 38 and 39 (now 53 and 54). Gate 49 will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo and there will be new aircraft stands on the apron accommodating the A380. Five of the gates will be able to accommodate two regional jets, such as Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s, simultaneously at a single gate.[87]

In June 2016, the new bus terminal for remote aircraft stand operations was opened to increase the airport's capacity with gates 50A-M.

The new South Pier of Terminal 2 was inaugurated on 10 July 2017. The first scheduled flight from the new pier, AY006 departed from Gate 54 to New York City. The new pier covers 8,300 square metres (89,000 sq ft). In addition to the new terminal building, new dual boarding gates S54 and S55 as well as aircraft stands 171 and 172 were opened. Construction of the southern wing of Terminal 2 started on 4 January 2016.[88] The construction took around 18 months. There are two floors: one for arriving passengers, the other for departures and gates 52 to 55. All the gates have dual boarding jet bridges. The new wing also features the first moving walkway at any airport in Finland.

On 20 September 2016, the construction on the West Pier began, even though it was expected to start in summer 2017. The construction of the west wing is expected to be finished in 2019. The west wing represents some EUR 300 million of Finavia's substantial total investment of EUR 900 million. The first part of the west wing to be built is the large central plaza, which is scheduled to open in late 2018. It will bring 25,000 square metres (270,000 sq ft) of new passenger and baggage facilities to the airport.[89] The pier will be equipped with nine gates for widebody jets. Gate 49, which will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380, is one of the gates in the South Pier.

The area of the apron to be renovated covers a total of 157,000 square metres (1,690,000 sq ft).

The Helsinki Airport development program also includes plans to expand Terminal 2 to the area currently used for parking and public transport. This would provide more space for check-in, security control and baggage operations, allowing the airport to concentrate all departure and arrival services in a single terminal.[89]

New cargo terminal[edit]

The construction of a new freight terminal (35,000 m2 or 380,000 sq ft) began in March 2015. The capacity of the terminal is being expanded to accommodate the growing freight capacity that will be provided by Finnair's Airbus A350 XWB fleet. Finnair's freight operations will continue in the current location until relocation to the new freight terminal in spring 2017.[32]

Planned third terminal[edit]

In addition to the terminal expansion, Finavia has also contemplated building a third terminal at Helsinki Airport. According to Finavia's tentative plan, the new terminal would be located between runways 04R/22L and 04L/22R, while runway 15/33 would be removed. The terminal would be the principal terminal at the airport but the check-in area would stay in the current terminal building. The decision to build the third terminal has not yet been taken.[90]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport at Wikimedia Commons