Construction work has begun on the redevelopment of the west wing at Helsinki Airport in Finland. The first phase of the €300m (US$335m) project involves the construction of the large central plaza, which is scheduled to open in late 2018. It will bring 270,000ft² of new passenger and baggage facilities to the airport, with overall completion scheduled for 2020.
The west wing expansion is part of a larger €900m (US$1bn) terminal project being undertaken by airport operator Finavia, with construction work well underway on the expansion of the south wing, which is scheduled to open in summer 2017.
Ville Haapasaari, airport director and senior vice president at Finavia, said, “The magnificent central plaza to be built in the west wing will be the heart of the expanded terminal. It will be used by departing and arriving long-haul passengers. Various facilities, such as modern security control, shops, restaurants and new services, will be located around the plaza.
“We want to not only provide our passengers with a smooth, pleasant and straightforward customer experience, but also to create experiences. Our aim is to establish a setting for an unforgettable and significant travel experience that lives long in the memory and strengthens the Helsinki Airport brand.”
Decorated with Finnish wood and rugged wall and ceiling structures, the central plaza will set an imposing stage for various events. Finnish architecture firm PES-Architects, which designed the previous expansion projects at the airport in 1996 and 1999, is responsible for designing the new areas.
Tuomas Silvennoinen, architect at PES-Architects, said, “The designs incorporate elements that allow Helsinki Airport to set itself apart from other airports around the world. We will highlight Finnish expertise and architectural style. The abundant use of glass and wood will provide brightness and create a sense of being close to nature.”
When complete, the entire expansion program will allow the airport to serve 20 million passengers annually by 2020. In total, the terminal will be expanded by more than 1,000,000ft² with a total floor area of approximately 2,700,000ft². The number of bridge gates for wide-body aircraft will be doubled from eight to 16 and baggage-handling capacity will increase by 50%.