Major Service Revamp in Progress at Helsinki Airport

Travel News Asia Videos Podcasts Latest Travel News Asia Thursday, 3 July 2014

The current development programme at Helsinki Airport involves the most extensive changes carried out at the airport during any single period of its history.

During the summer and autumn of 2014 and year 2015, we will open nearly 70 new or renewed stores and restaurants at the airport. We aim to continuously improve the service selection available to travellers. Finavia finds it important to ensure that the airport services meet the customers' expectations and wishes, says Business Director Anne Gullstn from Finavia, the Finnish airport operator.

At the beginning of the year, Finavia launched an investment programme worth one billion euros with the goal of strengthening Helsinki Airport's position as the number one transfer airport for air traffic between Europe and Asia. The airport is preparing to serve an annual number of 20 million travellers by 2020.

In addition to the investment programme, Helsinki Airport is undergoing an extensive service revamp closely connected to the Finavia investment programme.

The renovation is mostly funded by Finavia's international partners who will invest approximately EUR 35 million in the development of commercial operations at the airport. Finavia will invest an additional EUR 7 million.

The service overhaul will create approximately 200 new jobs with various airport service operators.

The restaurant selection will gain new variety, and outlets of international top brands will open during the summer. We will create a world-class shopping environment at the airport, and collaborate with major international retail and restaurant operators, World Duty Free Group (WDFG) and HMSHost. Our aim is to respond to the wishes of an increasing, more international traveller base, Gullstn said.

International operation director Pedro Castro from WDFG, said, Firstly, Helsinki is a main transfer airport between Europe and Asia, and WDFG is particularly interested in these travellers. The unique geographical location of the airport makes it a major hub between Europe and Asia, with nearly two million Asian travellers passing through each year. Within the next 20 years, half of the global increase in air traffic volumes will be generated in Asia. The estimated passenger volume growth from 15 million to 20 million is also very attractive to us.

To passengers, the change translates into a better, more comprehensive product range and world-class customer service. WDFG will introduce luxury brands in addition to the traditional cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco and sweets.

International fashion will be provided by famous brands such as Hugo Boss, Burberry and Ralph Lauren. Other top brands with presence at the airport will include Porsche Design, Armani Jeans, Versace Collection, Bally, Loewe, Etro and Montblanc.

Finavia now has a multi-operator model instead of only one supplier in the caf and restaurant business. HMSHost and SSP Finland are both globally leading restaurant service providers for travellers.

We aim to establish restaurants and cafs focusing on both international and Finnish flavours at the airport. The restaurants operated by HMSHost will open during 20142016. At the same time the restaurants operated by SSP Finland will be redesigned, Anne Gullstn said.

Like other operators, HMS Host is attracted by the transfer traffic at Helsinki Airport. The company estimates that Asia will become the number one tourism market in the next ten years. Traveller volumes at Asian airports are predicted to reach the level of three billion by 2020, providing ample potential for the food and drink businesses at airports.

New names in the restaurant scene introduced by HMSHost include Grab and Fly, Urban Food Market, Freshly Made, Johan & Nystrm and Two Tigers Sushi and Noodle, which focuses on fresh sushi and noodle dishes, said Michiel Reuvers, Sr. Director Business Development of HMSHost International.

Finavia, Finnair, Helsinki

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