Helsinki airport to be revamped from January

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Finavia is to begin upgrading Helsinki-Vantaa airport early in the new year, as part of a €900 million ($1.2 billion) development programme being pursued by the Finnish airports operator.

It plans to add capacity at Helsinki-Vantaa's departure lobby and improve terminal services, and says work will start "straight after Epiphany", which falls on 6 January.

The programme's first stage, which involves €5 million of investment, is to be completed in the summer.

A new security checkpoint being set up in Terminal 2 is intended to increase peak capacity some 40% to more than 3,200 passengers per hour. "Our goal is that all passengers can pass through the security check in less than 15 minutes," says Helsinki-Vantaa airport director Ville Haapasaari.

The departure lobby's floor is being extended to accommodate new check-in and bag-drop machines.

Additionally, "the shopping environment of the airport will undergo a complete transformation", says Finavia, which is to pour some €30 million into renovation of the retail and restaurant facilities between 2014 and 2016.

In November, Finanvia sold its duty-free shops to the World Duty Free Group, which will start operations at Helsinki-Vantaa in March 2014. HMSHost, meanwhile, has been lined up to run new restaurants being opened at the Finnish capital's main airport.

Finavia is developing Helsinki-Vantaa in anticipation of the airport handling 20 million passengers per annum by 2020.