Helsinki-Vantaa to open third runway this month

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Helsinki-Vantaa Airport will this month finally put its new third runway into operation, completing a six-year project to increase the Finnair hub’s traffic handling capacity.

Presently the airport has an intersecting runway layout – the main 3,440m (11,155ft) runway 04R/22L crosses the shorter runway 15/33 – and the hub is restricted to 45 movements per hour.

Vantaa’s new 3,000m runway, designated 04L/22R, lies parallel to the main runway and the 1,350m separation between the two will give the airport the capability to conduct simultaneous independent operations.

Once the new runway comes into operation on 28 November it will be used solely for departures while the current main runway will be used for landings at peak periods. During off-peak hours and at night aircraft will be directed to land on the shorter runway 15/33.

Even though departing aircraft will still need to cross the main landing runway in order to reach the new parallel, the Finnish CAA says that the airport will see a 40% increase in capacity as a result of the additional third runway.

It adds: “If the demand for traffic grows even more the ground and terminal operations can be moved to the area between the [parallel] runways and the runway capacity will be doubled.”

Construction of the €100 million ($100 million) runway commenced in early 1997; much of the time to build it been taken up by the need to compress clay layers lying under the manoeuvring areas.

Over the last few weeks construction teams have completed installation of signs and lighting while the Finnish airspace authority has provided Vantaa’s air traffic controllers with the necessary operational training ahead of this month’s opening.