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Helsinki Airport to mark 70th anniversary tomorrow


Helsinki Airport will celebrate its 70th anniversary as a commercial gateway tomorrow.

Finland’s capital city airport handled its first passenger flight on July 5, 1952, with the bulk of those onboard and passing through its newly opened passenger terminal comprising athletes and guests coming to Helsinki for the Summer Olympics.

“In 70 years, Helsinki Airport has developed into a major European airport, known for its smooth operations and high level of service. There are now about 130 direct and fast flight connections to destinations all over the world,” says senior vice president and executive director of Finavia, Ulla Lettijeff.

In July 1952, Finnish Prime Minister Urho Kekkonen opened the new Helsinki Airport for the use of Olympic traffic for a month and a half. Construction work on the airport continued after the Olympics. Air traffic at Helsinki Airport officially started on 26 October 1952.

At first, only one runway was available. The first airport building was a wooden barrack, which was extended over the years and was called a recumbent skyscraper because of its shape. A new terminal, which was constructed for one million passengers, was completed in 1969.

Today, the Helsinki Airport terminal covers a total of more than 200,000 square metres and has capacity for 30 million passengers. There are three runways at the airport. The entire airport area is 1,800 hectares, which is the same area as the city centre of Helsinki.

Next year, Finavia will complete its 10-year investment programme, which is the largest project ever implemented at Helsinki Airport. Its aim is to develop and modernise services for both passengers and airlines.

In connection with the development of infrastructure and services, Finavia has been able to invest in reducing the airport’s environmental impact. Numerous concrete measures have been successfully taken to reduce emissions.

“Helsinki Airport was one of the first airports in the world to achieve carbon neutrality five years ago, but that’s not enough. Our climate work continues. Next, we are aiming for net zero emissions,” says Lettijeff.

During the 70th anniversary of Helsinki Airport, Finavia will highlight the history and development of the airport on its website and on social media channels.

The year will culminate in International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December, when Finavia will raise flags at all its airports.

• All historic photos courtesy of the Finnish Aviation Museum.

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