New terminal to help airport in Arctic Finland face tourism boom

Kittilä Airport’s new terminal. (Sauli Antikainen/Yle)
The first phase of Kittilä Airport’s new expansion project is nearly complete and its new areas will be open to the public next week, on Thursday, 22 November, according to national airport operator Finavia. The improvements are part of a 55 million euro project at airports across Lapland.

In terms of passenger numbers, Kittilä is the country’s fastest-growing airport.

Last year its passenger numbers grew by 26 percent, and according to Finavia’s senior VP Jani Jolkkonen, the expansion will help to increase those figures, saying this phase of the renovations were completed just in time for the airport’s peak Christmas season.

The new, 1,500 square meter terminal that opens next week will be for departing passengers and outfitted with new, Nordic-styled wooden furniture and fixtures, a cafe, restaurant and a family-friendly play area for children.

The airport is also now able to serve a dozen planes at the same time, which Finavia said will facilitate faster loading and unloading of aircraft.

More upgrades coming

The next phase of improvements at the airport – which include a 500 square meter expansion for arriving passengers – will be ready in a couple of months. And further work on the facility – including the construction of a new, full-length runway – will continue, according to the company.

The new runway, called “Taxiway T”, will be complete by Christmas 2019.

The Kittilä improvements are part of a two-year, 55 million euro project at three airports across Lapland, an increasingly popular destination for international tourists. The project will also help to expand operations and service at airports in Rovaniemi and Ivalo.

All of the projects began last spring and are expected to be complete by the end of 2019, according to Finavia.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous Cultural Tourism: How the North is learning from community success in southern Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Turkish Airlines to carry tourists to Finnish Lapland through new Istanbul hub, Yle News

Iceland: Arctic tourism in the age of Instagram, Eye on the Arctic special report

Norway: When a town in Arctic Norway transforms into “the world’s northernmost Chinatown”, Cryopolitics Blog

Russia: Russian regional airline cancels only direct Murmansk-Oslo link, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Growing number of Swedes choose train travel over flying to reduce pollution, Radio Sweden

United States: Blog – When the ice melts, what will happen to Arctic tourism?, Cryopolitics blog

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