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Helsinki Airport grapples with summer's busiest days amid renovation

Finland's biggest airport urges travellers to arrive earlier than usual on Thursday and Friday due to the holiday rush.

Terminaali kaksi sisältä Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla
Airport officials warn that lines for security checks may be long this week. Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Helsinki Airport is bracing for the busiest days for summer vacation departures on Thursday and Friday. The busiest times are between 2pm and 5pm, when there are the most departures. Adding to the stress will be ongoing work to expand the airport, which has resulted in considerable rearrangement of facilities.

Civilian aviation authority Finavia recommends that passengers arrive at least two hours before all flights. Queues are likely, particularly for security checks.

Airport Operations Centre head Jani Ceder urges travellers to familiarise themselves with the changes before arriving at the airport.

"It's worth reserving some time to find out about these things, so that the changes don't come as a surprise," he says.

Finavia's website offers detailed information on how arrangements have changed at the airport.

Infrequent flyers should study changes

If it has been several months or more since you have been to the airport, expect significant changes. For instance the bus and taxi stands are in different places, and driving routes have been changed.

Ceder says that airport officials have tried to avoid detours that force people to walk long distances. A moving walkway has also been installed from the new bus station, which has been moved from its previous location in front of the Scandic Hotel.

The traveller drop-off points for those arriving by car are now lower down, as the ramp to the main entrance to Terminal 2 is being dismantled. There are also changes to parking places for people with disabilities.

Short-term parking is now in parking garage P3, as P1 and P2 parking areas are closed. According to Finavia, there are still enough parking places at the airport though.

The airport's capacity is being expanded by enlarging terminals and redesigning existing spaces.

Finavia says the work should be completed by 2022.

Helsinki Airport is located in Vantaa, some 20km north of the city centre.

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