200 hired test passengers are flooding Helsinki Airport terminal facilities


A new era of travel will soon be here when Finavia opens the new magnificent south wing of Helsinki Airport during summer 2017. Before the opening, Finavia will invite 200 volunteers to the airport to test that the south wing operations work as they should.

Finavia has an ongoing development programme at Helsinki Airport, worth of almost one billion euros, which will expand the airport and increase its capacity. With the development programme, Finavia is prepared to serve 20 million passengers at Helsinki Airport per year in 2020.

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The first part of the new extension, the south wing, is now ready for testing and waits for the final touch before being opened for passengers.

Finavia will arrange a unique deployment test in a role play spirit at Helsinki Airport on Thursday 6 July 2017. The purpose of the deployment test, which is the largest in the history of the airport, is to ensure before deployment that the terminal operations and processes at the south wing work as they should.

– The test day is arranged in order to ensure a smooth, pleasant travel experience, which is the cornerstone of all of our services. Test passengers will have a unique day at the airport and the possibility to look behind the scenes, says Helsinki Airport Director Ville Haapasaari from Finavia.

During the test day, the visibility of signs, passenger pleasantness and the technological solutions of the airport, among others, will be under scrutiny.

– For instance, we will test how well the test passengers find their way to the departure gate and how wheelchair passengers can move around at the airport. We will also check practical things, such as the operation of doors and moving walkways and the smoothness of boarding processes. The feedback we will receive from the test passengers is valuable, because we can then take passengers’ wishes and needs into consideration in finishing off the south wing, Haapasaari says.

Travel experience to a whole new level

Finavia holds long traditions in developing Helsinki Airport together with its passengers. It is one the first airport operators in the world to collaborate with passengers in such large scale.

– We find it important that our passengers have a chance to participate in the development work. Examples from previous years are the successful Quality Hunters and TravelLab projects which gained global interest and recognition. The deployment test is a natural continuum to these projects, Haapasaari says.

New service elements in the south wing include travellators and cold and hot water dispensers, among others.

– We want to maintain our strongest competitive asset, that is providing all services under the same roof and ensuring easy access from one gate to another, despite expanding the terminal. This is why the airport’s first travellator will now be installed to the south wing. Hot-water dispensers, again, are designed especially for our Chinese passengers, our fastest growing passenger group, Haapasaari says.

Finavia intends to open the south wing for passengers during summer 2017. The whole airport extension is scheduled to be ready in 2020.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.