Finnish airport operator Finavia is making an investment of nearly $8.45m (€7m) to improve the air traffic area of Helsinki Airport (HEL) in the coming months.

The scope of the renovation works includes the surfaces of the taxiways and the apron, the aircraft parking stands, as well as the stormwater sewer system.

The overhaul in the air traffic area would result in provisional changes in the use of runways, taxiing and parking of aeroplanes.

Finavia vice-president Jani Elasmaa, who is responsible for Helsinki Airport’s runway and apron operations, said: “We are taking advantage of the lower traffic volumes caused by the pandemic and renovating areas that are easier to work on now compared to the normal traffic situation. The effect on traffic and the management of aircraft noise will be minor.”

Between 31 May to 26 August, the major portion of the project will be implemented in two phases.

During the first stage, which will be executed in June-July, only one runway will be used in the daytime.

From 6am to 12am, Runway 3 (22R/04L) will be available for the purpose of take-off and landing.

During the same time, Runway 1 (04R-22L) and Runway 2 (15-33) can be used by aeroplanes only for taxiing.

From 12am to 6am, all runways will be available for take-off and landing.

During the second stage, Runway 3 (22R/04L) will be shut for ten days while Runway 1 (04R-22L) and Runway 2 (15-33) will be available for take-off and landing.

Finavia sustainability and environment vice-president Mikko Viinikainen said: “As a result of the pandemic, the number of flights is still significantly lower than usual, which means that the changes in the use of runways will not have as big an impact on noise management as they would normally have.”

Last month, Finavia announced plans to reopen HEL’s runway one as flight operations are expected to increase in the upcoming months.

The runway has been closed since 1 November last year as the Covid-19 pandemic hit travel demand, reducing the number of operating flights.