MIAMI – Just in time for the summer, Finavia announced this week that runway 1 at Helsinki Airport (HEL) will reopen on schedule. The runway was closed last year on November 1, 2020, due to drastically reduced flight numbers into the airport.

The runway was scheduled to reopen on April 30, and with all three runways in service all rules and regulations will return to normal.

Helsinki Airport has won numerous awards for cleaning up a snow-covered runway in less than 11 minutes. PHOTO: FINAVIA.

The Last 6 Months

For the last 6 months, runway 3 has been taking the main traffic at HEL, with runway 2 taking landings from the north. The airport has only seen 25% of the normal traffic during this time, meeting expectations set in October when the decision was made.

Finavia states that passenger numbers have not been this low since the 1980s, with international transfer passenger numbers falling 80% compared to 2019. International transfer passengers have been focal point of the airport, allowing major growth at HEL in the last years.

The aircraft flown into HEL have also been smaller regional aircraft, and with the reduction of flight numbers has led to an overall reduction of noise in the airport surroundings.

An Iberia Airbus A330-200 gets de-iced under a stunning clear and cold night—the norm at Helsinki Airport. Photo: Elias Hadiari.

May and Onwards

With all three runways in operation, this means that HEL will go back to normal operations and increasing their available takeoff and landing configurations for flights. The expectation is that over the summer and particularly in the beginning of Autumn the number of flights in the airport will increase drastically as borders reopen.

Primary landing runways will be runway 2 from the northwest, and runway 1 from the northeast. For takeoffs, the normal order is runway 3 to the southwest, and runway 1 to the northeast.

As is common in northern Europe, summer is when major construction takes place. Starting in June, it is expected that the runway operation will be again affected due to repairs to runways and taxiways. The exact closures will be announced in May.

Featured image: Helsinki Airport