Kimmo Mäki, CEO of Finavia, discusses the company’s recently announced €55m (US$64m) investment in its Lapland airports.
Why do Lapland’s airports need to be expanded and modernized?
Finavia’s large-scale investment of around €55m (US$64m) will enable the further growth of Lapland’s tourism industry and increase Finland’s accessibility and competitiveness. The aim of the development program at Lapland’s airports is also to improve the customer experience and service level and increase capacity to ensure safe traffic, even as the number of flights and passengers grows.
Investments in environmental protection will be made at the same time. Finavia will make the recovery and recycling of the glycol used in aircraft de-icing more efficient, thereby reducing the environmental impact of air traffic on bodies of water.
What new features will each of the updated airports have?
At Rovaniemi Airport, the airport area will grow by 75%. Modern passenger facilities will be added to the baggage reclaim area and other areas, and the café area will quadruple in size. A new passenger boarding bridge that makes boarding faster will also be installed in the terminal.
At Kittilä Airport, the new facilities will include services such as a second café. New space will also be added to the passport control for arriving passengers.
At Ivalo Airport, the new baggage reclaim hall will free up space for the whole terminal, thus making the space more comfortable and improving the customer experience.
How will the changes affect the passenger experience?
Finavia has put a lot of thought into the airports’ atmosphere that emphasizes Finnishness and the exoticness of Lapland. This way, the passengers will feel the spirit of Lapland as soon as they are at the airport. There are rocking chairs by the fire, countless references to the wild nature of Lapland and even a sauna. Finnish ingredients can also be found at the food and beverage services.
What do you predict for the future of Lapland’s airports and tourism industry over the next five years?
There has been record-breaking growth in the number of passengers at Lapland’s airports. The growth from the previous year was 23%. Rovaniemi (+19%), Kittilä (+26%) and Ivalo (+17%) airports grew the most.
The investment program now being launched by Finavia will allow Lapland’s airports to serve two million passengers a year.