“Although the number of flights is still considerably lower than in 2019, we are again able to have all three runways of the airport open. It is a sign that the summer is coming and a proof of our belief in a slight increase in air traffic by the early autumn,” says Jani Elasmaa, Vice President in charge of Helsinki Airport’s runway and apron operations at Finavia.
Strict travel restrictions have kept the number of flights low since last spring. According to Elasmaa, there have been only approximately 25 per cent of the normal number of flights. Consequently, it made no sense to maintain full runway capacity during the winter maintenance period.
Runway 1 has been temporarily closed since 1 November 2020 as a result of the decrease in the number of flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the winter, there were 100–150 takeoffs and landings per day, whereas the normal number is more than 500 operations per day.
The change caused by travel restrictions could also be seen in aircraft types: during the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines used smaller, lower-noise ATR and Embraer planes.
Takeoff and landing routes will return to normal in the spring
When all three runways are again in use starting from 30 April, the principles governing the use of runways and noise control will also return to normal.
As a rule, the following takeoff and landing routes will be used as of 30 April:
The primary landing runway will be runway 2 (15) from the northwest, i.e. from the direction of Nurmijärvi. Runway 1 (22L) from the northeast, i.e. the direction of Kerava, can also be used for landing. The third option is runway 3 (04L) from the southwest, i.e. the direction of Espoo, and the fourth is runway 1 (04R) from the southwest.
In takeoffs, the corresponding order is runway 3 (22R) towards the southwest, i.e. the direction of Espoo, runway 1 (22L) towards the southwest and runway 1 (04R) towards the northeast, i.e. the direction of Kerava. There are several different runway combinations.
The summer’s runway and taxiway repairs start at the beginning of the summer
Every summer, Helsinki Airport ’s runways and taxiways undergo repairs. This year’s repair work starts at the beginning of June and influences the use of runways. We will provide more information about the repairs’ influence on the direction of aircraft noise when we know the schedules in more detail in May.