Helsinki Airport has just opened a new 33,400sq m space which makes the airport as much of a destination as those that the passengers there are heading to. Named ‘Aukio’ the architecture, design and atmosphere are a testament to Finnish skills.
“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”, says Helsinki Airport’s Director Joni Sundelin from Finavia.
Highlighting the four seasons of Finland, the space, utilising a 75m x 2m organic LED screen showcases 360 degree landscapes from 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, brought to life through light, sound and immersive visuals.
New technological advancements aren’t just for entertainment, 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 says.
The airport has also added new shops and outlets, such as 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, in addition to a lounge that Finnair is redeveloping, a new pay-for lounge will be opened at the airport, operated by Plaza Premium, which is penned to open at the end of March.
Not leaving anything to chance, the airport operator conducted extensive trials, including a test day, whereby passengers with different profiles were sought for the test: 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.