The backing of the European Investment Bank will allow Helsinki Airport to expand the facilities and to cope with the expected increase of passengers. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Finavia Corporation, a Finnish airport company, and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan agreement of 150 million euros in Helsinki on Friday. The financing will be used for phase IV of Helsinki Airport’s expansion plans, featuring the extension of Terminal 2 with a new arrivals and departures hall, new gates, increased border control capacity and better connection to public transportation and taxi services.

The project is expected to alleviate bottlenecks in the Schengen area, as well as between the airport and the rail, bus and taxi services and thus enhance links to public transportation. The financing will also allow Finavia to expand the baggage handling system and passport control areas, with the objective of smoother transit of passengers and luggage. With these expansions and improvements, Helsinki Airport’s annual capacity is expected to rise to about 30 million passengers per year. (Helsinki Airport served about 20 million passengers in 2018.)

HEL never freezes, and neither does its traffic.

Alexander Stubb. Archive picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“HEL never freezes, and neither does its traffic. Helsinki Airport probably has some of the most extreme conditions of any major international airport and it’s nothing short of amazing how Finavia deals with this, while smoothly transiting millions of passengers per year. The EIB’s backing will allow the airport to cope with the expected increase in passenger numbers in a rational and sustainable way. We’re very proud to support this,” said Alexander Stubb, the EIB vice-president, at the signature event.

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The expansion will include a new departures hall with 76 check-in desks and a new arrivals hall. On the “airside” the border control area will be expanded to include 24 passport check lines and 20 automated kiosks for both arrivals and departures. On the “landside,” apart from the remodeling of the bus and taxi area, a new tunnel connection to the ring rail connection will be built. Finally, new parking facilities will be opened with 1,800 new parking spots.

Apart from creating employment during the construction phase, once completed the project is expected to contribute to the creation of up to 5,000 new jobs (FTE) in and around the airport.