Launched in 2013, Finavia’s ten-year Helsinki airport development program is now entering its final phase. With more than € 1 billion invested, the opening of an expanded Terminal 2 next year will see terminal space increase by 45%, with baggage handling and passport control capacity increasing by 50%. %.
Flight capacity will also increase, with the number of bridge doors for wide-body aircraft set to double to 16, helping to cope with the growing number of passengers from Helsinki. As the pandemic has dampened growth, figures for 2019 show passenger numbers increased by more than 43% since the launch of the program.
By 2030, it is expected that 30 million passengers per year will pass through the airport, far exceeding the peak of 21.9 million recorded in 2019.
“Even though the corona pandemic has had a significant impact on airports and travel, we believe that investing in the development of Helsinki Airport will pay off,” said Katja Siber, Director of Marketing, Communications and of Finavia’s customer experience. “We are confident that the numbers will not only return to pre-Covid levels, but will continue to rise in the long term.”
As the number of passengers increases, it is hoped that the development program will help maintain and improve the customer experience in Helsinki. Finavia designed the expanded terminal around its “four pillars of customer experience”: the gift of time, trust, refreshing services and environment, and the Finnish experience.
From easy access to public transport to touches of Finnish nature and design and a host of food and beverage services, the expanded terminal has been designed to provide passengers with a pleasant airport experience in a short period of time.
Technology will play a key role in keeping services accessible and transfer times short. “At Helsinki Airport, we are constantly monitoring technological developments, testing them and adapting simpler and faster digital services to passengers,” says Siberg.
As part of the program for Helsinki and other airports operated by Finavia, the airport network operator has partnered with travel technology leader Amadeus to modernize its technological infrastructure.
Helsinki Airport will transition to Amadeus Flow’s Airport Common Use Service (ACUS), its integrated airport cloud solution that enables end-to-end management of passenger services.
ACUS is Amadeus’ cloud infrastructure module that connects airports to more than 200 partner airlines via the Internet, which will remove Helsinki’s “long-standing dependence on existing network connections,” according to Yannick Beunardeau, vice president airport IT for the EMEA region at Amadeus.
The move to the cloud can dramatically simplify long and expensive on-premise system integration projects, providing greater agility that will allow airports like Helsinki to quickly and easily adapt their operations to changing customer needs.
“Traditionally, if an airline wants to add new IT capability to an airport, it requires a long certification cycle that sees updates released quarterly. With Flow, these constraints are removed so that updates to the passenger experience can be provided regularly and new applications easily accessible via an internet connection, ”said Beunardeau.
“Cloud technology helps us scale technical infrastructure faster without significant upfront investments or integration projects.”
The pandemic has cast uncertainty over future passenger numbers and created an environment of rapidly changing guidelines, regulations and passenger expectations. Amadeus ACUS will make it easier for Finavia to adapt its services to changing needs. With less effort required to maintain systems, teams have more time to anticipate changes, implement services, and create value for airport stakeholders and passing passengers.
“Cloud technology helps us scale technical infrastructure faster without significant upfront investments or integration projects,” said Leyla Akgez-Laakso, director of information management at Finavia. “It also changes the role of our internal IT, shifting our time from maintaining systems and infrastructure to consulting and development roles, and therefore focusing more on creating business value. “
With Amadeus ACUS in place, airlines in Helsinki will be able to deploy new solutions within hours. Finavia now offers its airlines Amadeus Airport Pay as an option, for example, allowing them to accept a wide variety of payment methods in key areas, such as check-in. This will help increase sales of complementary products such as extra legroom, while improving access to services for passengers.
Amadeus Airport Solution has enabled frictionless payments to be implemented in Helsinki using contactless technology, while ACUS will support Finavia behind the scenes by providing access to applications and tools, such as the Productivity Suite from Microsoft. With the ability to use a range of Amadeus solutions for arrivals, check-in, security, retail and boarding, further innovations are sure to follow.
“We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve our efficiency and our customer experience, and we believe that technologies can help us achieve these goals,” says Akgez-Laakso.
As the number of passengers fell by 77% in 2020, the pandemic has given Finavia the opportunity to consider the needs of its passengers, the technologies its airports will need to move forward and how to get there. cost-effectively.
“We believe that after the pandemic, passengers will pay even more attention and want automated solutions to make their journeys easier,” Akgez-Laakso said. “We find that how we improve the way we use data and integrate with other stakeholders in the airport ecosystem will be critical to us. “
Amadeus Flow will enable Finavia to provide a more streamlined, reliable and automated experience for passengers in Helsinki. However, Finavia’s efforts to innovate do not end there.
“New CT control lines will allow passengers to carry electronic devices and liquids through security in their hand luggage”
At the new security checkpoint for transfer passengers, a modern body scanner has been installed to reduce the need for manual checks and speed up passenger travel through the airport.
Since the start of the development program in Helsinki, Finavia has also launched various trials of new technologies to improve the customer experience. Last year, for example, the manager of the airport network started test the use of UVC light technology to disinfect security control bins in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Likewise, a pilot project is currently underway to test new computed tomography (CT) screening technology. If all goes as planned, CT control lines will be set up in the new departures hall, which is slated to open to passengers in May 2022. The technology will allow passengers to carry electronic devices and liquids through security in their carry-on baggage without having to place in a separate bag or container.
“We believe in trying new technologies and finding what really makes the difference for our customers,” says Akgez-Laakso. “Some of the technologies will stay true and some not, and we plan to continue testing them in our newly developed terminal.”