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Intermittent crowding at Helsinki Airport as traffic begins to recover

Increased demand is resulting in congestion at the airport's check-in area. Airport officials say that wearing a mask is essential as maintaining social distancing gaps can be difficult at times.

Kuvallisia korona-ajan ohjeita Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
Coronavirus recommendations at Helsinki Airport. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

As coronavirus vaccine coverage rises, more people in Finland are booking flights abroad this autumn. Many trips have been booked for the school holiday period in October, for instance, according to national airport operator Finavia.

Helsinki Airport now averages 12,000-15,000 passengers a day. A year ago, there were just 2,000 to 3,000 passengers. Before the pandemic, the corresponding figure was about 60,000.

The increased demand for travel is reflected in intermittent congestion at the airport's check-in area, Finavia said on Thursday. It noted that in such situations, maintaining safety gaps can become difficult, so wearing a mask is crucial.

6-year expansion project wraps up

The congestion is exacerbated by the fact that the departure lounge is now smaller than usual due to extensive renovations at the airport. The larger space will open on 1 December, when the renovation is scheduled to be completed.

On Wednesday, the last of the facilities and services under construction for non-Schengen flights opened, including gates 37–39, as a massive six-year expansion project wraps up.

"We will open the new gate area 34–36 in the long-haul flight area in early September. What makes the new area special is that the gates can be used for both Schengen and non-Schengen flights. This enables us to allocate capacity as needed," said Finavia Project Director Martti Nurminen.

More than 700 companies and 8,000 people have taken part in the expansion of the long-haul flight area since 2015.

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