The new terminal opened at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in autumn 1996 was called Gateway, because its purpose is to increase the capacity to handle transit passenger flows. It represents the first phase in an expansion programme in preparation for an expected enormous increase in traffic through the airport.
Gateway Terminal - ready for the future
The Gateway Terminal offers plenty of comfort for travellers and more space for the various stores and other commercial services at the airport. It increases the capacity of the international section from the present 5.5 million passengers a year to about 6.5 million.
The second phase (1997-99) will involve building a new check-in area, an arrivals lounge and an indoor connection to the domestic terminal.
When the work has been completed, the middle terminal will be the kind of independent passenger facility that is needed to handle internal EU traffic.
The volume of passengers using the airport is growing strongly. Now nearly 8 million annually, it is forecast to grow at between 5 and 7 per cent over the next few years and could reach 10 million by the end of the century.
The airport site is now about 1,500 hectares in extent. The main runway is 3.4 kilometres long and the other 2.9 kilometres.
Landings and take-offs total about 400 a day and the airport is used by around 30 airlines operating scheduled flights. The hundred or so companies at the airport employ some 7,500 people. The car parks there have room for about 5,000 vehicles.
Finland's biggest building site
The boom in air travel - a record 10 million passengers will use Helsinki Vantaa airport in 1998 - has necessitated the construction of a third runway, which is due for construction by the end of 2003.
Construction of the runway - 60 metres wide and 3,000 long - has transformed the area around the airport into Finland's biggest building site. New access roads are having to be provided and the existing ones upgraded. The number of vehicles arriving at the airport each day is expected to increase from the present 16,000 to 43,000 in 2010.
The cost of the extension (including the central terminal) is estimated at 1.1 billion markkas or nearly $200 million.