Helsinki-Vantaa Airport serves as Finland’s premier international airport and is the main aviation hub for the greater Helsinki area. It is actually situated in Vantaa, which is a commuter suburb of the Finish capital, some 17 km (10.6 miles) to the north of the center of the city.
Last year the airport handled some 14.8 million passengers, making it the fourth largest in terms of passenger numbers in the Nordic region. The airport has three runways and is already prepped for acceptance of the Airbus A340 super-jet planes as well as the A350 aircraft.
Finnair uses Vantaa Airport as its base, as does Blue1, which is the Finnish regional branch of carrier SAS. Among the other domestic airlines stationed here are Flybe and Air Finland. Among the international carriers providing flight routes from Helsinki-Vantaa are airlines such as Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and TAP Portugal.
Passengers with onward flight connections can choose from destinations such as Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf in Germany, Saint Petersburg and Moscow in Russia, Istanbul in Turkey, Copenhagen in Denmark, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Lisbon in Portugal or London Heathrow in the UK among many other domestic and international routes.
Just outside the complex are several large hotels and a new business park has been established at Aviapolis, which has become home to a number of large companies. Visitors to Helsinki, who have a little spare time on their hands, might enjoy a visit to the Finnish Aviation Museum, which is located in close proximity to the airport.
At present a new train line is being built that will eventually link the airport with the city of Helsinki. Operations are due to start in 2014 and the train link will be called Kehärata.
Passengers have access to free Wi-Fi services in both terminals. A pedestrianized, internal section links the two terminal buildings. These terminals have been divided into Schengen and non-Schengen arrival and departure areas.
Various bus services link Helsinki Airport with the surrounding cities. Line 615 takes passengers to the Helsinki Central Train Station, a journey that takes between 30 to 55 minutes, depending on the time of day one travels. The bus also stops along some of the major hotels in the greater Helsinki area, a journey that can take between 15 minutes to two hours. For passengers in a hurry there is also a more luxurious bus service available, which is operated by Finnair and takes just 30 minutes to reach the city centre.
Vantaa Airport has its own coach terminal, from which passengers can catch coach connections to all parts of Finnland. These services are operated by ExpressBus and Maktahuolto.
As the train link to the central train station is not ready yet, passengers have to travel by bus line 615 to the town of Tikkurila, just over 5 km or 3 miles distance from the airport. Here passengers can board trains at the Tikkurila Train Station, from where both commuter and long-distance trains travel to Lahti, Tampere, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
Bus line 540 also travels from the airport to Espoo Train Station, from where passengers can catch connections towards Turku. From Helsinki Central Train Station passengers can either use the VR commuter railway system to locations within greater Helsinki or board long-distance trains to other parts of Scandinavia. Passengers also have access to the metro network at this station.
Passengers who have a little spare time before boarding their flight can relax and obtain refreshments at various cafes, bars and restaurants on site. It is even possible to buy a take-away breakfast or lunch that can be consumed on board the aircraft. The cafes and bars open very early in the morning and remain open until late at night. There are even cafes that stay open to provide passengers with around the clock service. Bar Delight, Café Picnic, Ceasar’s Pizza & Food Court, O’Learys, Seasons Restaurant and Street Bar are just some of the establishments welcoming guests on a daily basis.
Most of the airport’s shops stay open from 5.30 am to 20.30 pm, but the shops that are located along the departure lounges, once passengers have passed through passport control, are open from early in the morning until 23.00 pm. Shopping ranges from ARG Airport Fashion to Capi Electronics, Pharmacy, Luxbag, Mulberry, Moomin Shop to the Grocery Store Alepa, Santa’s Gift & Toy Store and Tie Rack among others.
For more information about Helsinki Airport, please visit the official website at http://www.helsinki-vantaa.fi.