Aukio, Helsinki Airport’s new extension, opened
on Friday, 8 February.
The most important part of Aukio is the event
plaza, where designers have aimed to put passengers in the middle of Finnish
nature. They get to experience the four seasons as well as the
soothing, refreshing effects of nature through an immersive
spatial experience that is a feast for all the senses.
Chief Digital Officer at Finavia, said,
“Locations where the event plaza’s 360 degree landscapes were
filmed include Koli, Olos, Luosto, Yövesi in Saimaa and the
Kalevankangas nature reserve in Mikkeli. Passengers get to witness
the breath-taking Aurora Borealis, vibrant autumn colours, a rippling stream and the whistling wind. The central element of the
forest-inspired plaza is a LED screen that is seventy-five metres
in width and two metres in height. This combination of special
technologies is unique on a global scale.”
According to Koski,
digitalisation is not the point, but the benefits it brings. For
example, automation as a part of the new ultra- modern security
control helps make the security check process smoother and faster
as well as ensuring sufficient capacity.
“In developing the
security control, the focus has been on fostering a good employee
experience, because content staff ensures a good customer
experience. We included security officers in the design process
and made improvements to the ergonomics and equipment of the lines
based on their feedback,” Koski said.
Examples of new technology
in the security control include an automated Smart Lane X-ray
line, full body scanners and remote reading of X-ray images.
Shops and restaurants are an essential part of Aukio’s services. One of them is the Japanese Ajisen Ramen
restaurant, which has 800 restaurants in Asia and only two in
Europe, with one of the two now being at Helsinki Airport. The
shopping selection includes high-quality Finnish brands as well as
international favourites, such as the Toyland toy store. For the
first time, a lounge open to all passengers for an entry fee will
be opened at the airport. No business class ticket or airline
membership card will be required to enter. The Plaza Premium
Lounge, which is operated by a Hong Kong-based company, will be
opened at Aukio in late February - early March. Eleven new
commercial premises altogether will be opened at the airport.
“Aukio can rightfully be described as a display
window for our country, as millions of international passengers
get their first taste of Finland at the airport. Our focus
throughout development has been on ensuring that passengers are
left with an exceptionally positive impression of Finnish design,
smoothness, nature and peace,” said Helsinki Airport’s Director
Joni Sundelin from Finavia.
inauguration has been preceded by a nearly one-year-long trial and
training period, in which thousands of airport personnel have
The new facilities were also given a test run
by about 200 volunteer passengers on 6 February. This was the
second time a test day was arranged by Finavia after the first one
was held in 2017.
Passengers with different
profiles were sought for the test day: frequent travellers,
infrequent travellers, first-timers, families with children,
people with disabilities, etc. Their tasks included testing the
functionality of the security control, signage and other
information, restaurants, restrooms, etc.