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Helsinki-Vantaa (HEL) Airport

Helsinki-Vantaa HEL Airport Overview

Helsinki Vantaa Airport HEL is Finland's most important airport and is a leading transfer point for air traffic between Europe,  Asia  & North America.  Vantaa Airport is managed by Finavia, which continuously upgrades its airport facilities throughout Finland. The Airport is also recognized for its on-time performance.

HEL Airport is located three miles from Vantaa, Tikkurila, and 19 km, or half an hour drive,  from the city center of Helsinki and is accessible from Helsinki's Keha III circle motorway 50, and a number of motorways merging into it (motorways 51, 1, 120, 3, 45, 4 & 7).

With 3 long runways and serving near 15 million passengers annually, Helsinki Vantaa Airport can accommodate Airbuses 340/350, is hub for its flag-carrier Finnair & to Blue1, and is served by many national and international airlines offering direct and connecting flights to all points of the globe. 

NOTE: 15 Automated Boarder Control Gates, each for departing & for Arriving passengers, are used by 'citizens holding a biometric passport issued by EU/EEA countries' (no pre-registration required.)
Citizens of the European Union can pass through border control, using one of the 30 automatic border control checkpoints serving both arriving & departing passengers.

On-Airport hotels include the Hilton Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and the Hotel GLO Helsinki Airport.

Layout of Helsinki Vantaa Airport's terminals and how to connect to other flights:

Helsinki Vantaa Airport' passenger terminal is partially divided into T1 Domestic and T2 International terminals (T1 & T2)
, both joined by a 250-meter internal pedestrian walkway, and surrounding parking facilities & hotels. The airside is not divided by international/domestic traffic, but by Schengen & non-Schengen traffic.
The Arrivals level is divided beween Terminal 1 'Arrivals 1) and Terminal 2 Arrivals 2A & 2B - each one having their own baggage claim.

The small T1 Domestic Terminal area,
located at the south-eastern tip of the terminal complex, with Departure Hall 1 and check-in desks 101-114,  is home to members of the Star Alliance.

Terminal 2, the International Terminal area,
houses all other airlines, Departures Hall 2, 3  4 and check-in desks numbered 201-232, 240-271 & 400-423.  T2 has recently undergone renovation work giving it a fresh look. As part of the ongoing 6-year development program until 2020 - Already  a total of 62 check-in machines, 14 baggage drop mchines & a new 5-lane security checkpoint able to serve 3,200 passengers per hour are at service,  and shopping areas are renovated, with new restaurants to  open between 2014 & 2016.
The combined Departure level of T2 houses gates 23-13 (at right), gates 24-34 (at center),  gates 35-38 at left) - with remote gates 11 & 12. .

Amenities & services inside the passenger terminals include food & drink, retail and tax-free concessions,  Sampo bank branch, ATM cash machines, currency exchange,  Finnair Spa & Saunas, Finnair service desk, maill box, rental car counters, free internet kiosks, travel bureaus, pharmacy, playroom, parking payment machine, hair salon, as well as lounges (see below).
Recent improvements include a new shopping area, more border control kiosks with biometric ID technology, renovation of waiting & baggage areas between European & long-haul flgihts, enhanced border control capacity, a large duty-free shop at T2, and more imporvements are to follow.
A book swap is the latest addition to the terminals.
Airline lounges:
Almost@home Lounge - gate 32 - accessible to all passengers (with small kitchen, dining area & living room)
ASPIRE lounge by Servisai - gates2--28
Finnair Lounge - gates 25-26 (Priority Pass members have rated the Finnair Lounge 'Best Lounge in the World 201')
Long-Haul Lounge by Finnair - gate 36
SAS Business Lounge - gate 13
VIP Center - open on request 24 hrs - at Terminal 2, check-in level.

Passengers transferring to another flight: 
If you have a boarding pass for your connecting flight, proceed to your departure gate. If you do not have a boarding pass yet, go to the Transfer Desk located near gates 24 or 30.
All passengers who transfer from a non-EU country to an EU country must go through the security checkpoint. 
If your luggage has not been checked through to your destination, you have to collect it first at the baggage claim hall, then go through check-in and through security control - make sure you check your connecting departure flight time again.

Present and future Airport developments:  Construction of train link 'Keharata', to city center to become operational by 2014.
The first phase of a  7-year Airport improvement project has been completed in May 2014 - inceasing security check & check-in capacities at T2.  For the remainder of 2014 shops & eateries will be upgraded and new ones added. 
Between  2015 & 2020, improvements in transit traffic capacity are scheduled;  and
between 2017-2019 the flow of T2's depatures & arrivals is to be addressed.

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