Finnish airport operator Finavia has completed the expansion of the long-haul flight area at Helsinki Airport (HEL) as part of the Helsinki Airport development programme.

With this development, the last of the facilities and services for non-Schengen flights under construction has opened for public use.

Finavia introduced the Helsinki Airport development programme around eight years ago.

The long-haul flight area was enlarged in six phases.

In 2016, the gate area 50 A–M was completed while in 2017, the south pier was finished.

In 2019, the Aukio plaza, along with the new security control for transferring passengers, was completed.

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During the same year, the airport concluded the expansion of the luggage area, as well as the second part of the west pier.

Now, the airport has finished the last stage of the gate area 37–39.

Finavia project director Martti Nurminen said: “We are investing over $1.18bn (€1bn) in the expansion of Helsinki Airport, with approximately $544.83m (€460m) of this total allocated to the development of non-Schengen traffic.

“We will open the new gate area 34–36 in the long-haul flight area at the beginning of 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.”

The expanded portion for non-Schengen flights and passengers includes 55,000m² of new terminal facilities, 50% more luggage capacity, eight new stands for wide-body aircraft, as well as 11 new retail spaces.

Under the project, renovation of over 300,000m² of the apron also took place.

In addition, Finavia deployed a solar power plant on the roof of the terminal for facilitating the use of renewable energy by the airport.

The airport earned the international carbon neutral certification in 2017.

According to Finavia, over 700 firms and more than 8,000 people were involved in the six-year project of expanding the long-haul flight area.

PES-Architects was responsible for designing the expansion plan for the long-haul flight area while YIT executed the terminal construction project.

Furthermore, Destia was tasked with the construction of the apron.

Last month, Finavia announced that it will open the new entrance to the Helsinki Airport Terminal 2 and updated traffic arrangements for passengers on 1 December 2021.