Tomorrow, Finnair’s home of Helsinki Airport marks 70 years since the first passenger aircraft landed, as the airline also resumes its flights to Hong Kong, writes Clodagh Dooley
In 1952, on 5th July, Helsinki Airport’s first passenger aircraft landed, carrying athletes and guests to the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
The new airport was partially opened for Olympic traffic for just a month and a half by Finnish Prime Minister Urho Kekkonen, before construction work on the airport resumed and commercial air traffic officially started on 26th October 1952.
At first, only one runway was available, and the first airport building was a wooden barrack. This was extended over the years and a new terminal, which was constructed for one million passengers, was completed in 1969.
Finnair, who are based at Helsinki Airport, are celebrating this major milestone in their history, as they get set to mark their 100th anniversary next year.
The Nordic carrier, known as Aero O/Y during the first year of Helsinki Airport’s operation, has served the airport since it was built 70 years ago and remains its largest airline.
Jukka Glader, Finnair’s VP of Ground Operations, said: “We are proud to be celebrating 70 years at our Helsinki Airport hub, alongside our colleagues at Finavia.
“Helsinki Airport has played a huge part in our history, being our home for the last seven decades, and has developed over time to become a major departure and transit point which ensures our customers benefit from a smooth and relaxing journey.”
Ulla Lettijeff, Senior Vice President, Helsinki Airport Executive Director at Finavia, said: “In 70 years, Helsinki Airport has developed into a major European airport, known for its smooth operations and high level of service. There are now about 130 direct and fast flight connections to destinations all over the world.”
Today, the Helsinki Airport terminal covers a total of more than 200,000 square metres and has a capacity for 30 million passengers.
There are three runways, and the entire airport covers 1,800 hectares, which is the same size as Helsinki city centre.
Next year, Finavia will complete its 10-year investment programme, which is the largest project ever implemented at Helsinki Airport. Its aim is to develop and modernise services for both passengers and airlines. The renewed development, which includes a new departures and arrivals hall, will act as the main transit area for Finnair customers.
Finnair is also set to resume passenger flights to Hong Kong on Thursday, after a hiatus of five months. Flights to the Asian airport will initially operate once per week and will be operated by the Nordic airline’s state-of-the-art A350s.
From 4th August, customers on the route will also be able to enjoy the carrier’s elevated long-haul experience, with brand-new Premium Economy cabin, renewed Business Class seat and refreshed Economy Class.
Services will depart the Finnish capital each Thursday at 00:05, arriving into Hong Kong at 17:15 local time. On the return, flights will leave Hong Kong at 20:45 each Friday, arriving into Finnair’s home at 05:55 the following morning.
These services have been specifically timed to allow easy connections from Finnair’s destinations across the UK & Ireland.
Currently, the Nordic Finnish flag carrier flies from Helsinki to Dublin, London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh.
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