State-owned Finnish airport operator Finavia has committed to investing €55m (US$66m) in expanding and modernizing Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Ivalo airports in Lapland, with work beginning with immediate effect.
Kimmo Mäki, CEO of Finavia, said, “Finavia’s large-scale investment will enable the further growth of Lapland’s tourism industry and increase Finland’s accessibility and competitiveness. With this development program, Finavia’s investment in Lapland’s tourism industry in the next few years will increase to nearly €100m (US$120m).”
According to Mäki, the aim of the development program at Lapland’s airports is to improve the customer experience and increase capacity, as well as to ensure safety as traffic continues to rise.
There has been record-breaking growth in the number of passengers at Lapland’s airports, and last year the number of passengers reached 1.3 million. The growth from the previous year was 23%, with Rovaniemi (+19%), Kittilä (+26%) and Ivalo (+17%) airports experiencing the most growth.
Projects include the expansion of the main terminal at Rovaniemi Airport from 6,000m² (65,000ft²) to 10,500m² (113,000ft²), an increase of 75%.
The new facilities will make the terminal more spacious and comfortable for passengers, and will increase the hourly capacity of the airport enabling it to accommodate five planes an hour rather than three.
Modern passenger facilities will be added to the baggage reclaim area and the café area will quadruple in size. A new passenger boarding bridge will also be installed bringing the total number to three boarding bridges. The Rovaniemi Airport expansion project will be completed by the 2019 Christmas season.
At Kittilä Airport, Finavia will considerably expand both the terminal and the air traffic infrastructure. The service level will be improved by the 2018 Christmas season with the opening of the extension for departing passengers. Improvements include a second café and more than 2,000m² (21,500ft²) of extra space.
At Ivalo Airport, Finavia will build new aircraft stands, which will nearly double the aircraft parking capacity and thus increase the smoothness of air traffic.
The number of aircraft stands will increase from four to seven by the winter of 2018. The space for passengers will also increase by 1,000m² (11,000ft²) by winter 2019.