A woman walking through Helsinki Airport
 Helsinki Airport has been a regular recipient of praise for its customer service and, now, its hygiene measures in the face of the global pandemic. Image: Finavia

Helsinki Airport wins recognition in challenging year for travel industry

Helsinki Airport has been awarded an Airport Service Quality Award by Airports Council International, with its hygiene measures during the COVID-19 pandemic also drawing praise.

James O’Sullivan


Airports Council International rated Helsinki Airport as one of the best in Europe in its size category (15–25 million passengers) in 2020. The Finnish airport also received recognition for its hygiene measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A non-profit organisation, Airports Council International recognises and rewards the best airports in the world annually according to the results of passenger surveys. Helsinki Airport was previously named Europe’s best airport by size and region for the year 2019.

A sniffer dog on duty at Helsinki Airport

The COVID-19 sniffer dogs at Helsinki Airport garnered international attention when they began service in September 2020. Image: Finavia

“Serving passengers and maintaining a premium customer experience are of primary importance to us also in times of crisis,” said Ulla Lettijeff, airport director for Helsinki Airport at Finavia. “We can be extremely proud of this award, because last year was very trying for us in many ways. Thanks for the award are due to every employee at the airport.”

Even prior to the pandemic, the airport had rolled out measures to improve communication and health security. The arrival of the outbreak spurred a number of additional practices, such as the COVID-19 sniffer dogs that made headlines worldwide and the UVC disinfection of security control trays.

“I am particularly proud of the recognition for our hygiene measures, because health security has been a top priority for us,” Lettijeff added.

the tarmac and gates at Helsinki Airport

Prior to the pandemic, Helsinki Airport was undergoing a period of unprecedented growth, and welcomed almost 22 million passengers annually. Image: Finavia

The airport is currently undergoing a one billion-euro redevelopment and expansion, which aims to increase its terminal area by 45 per cent by 2023.

“This [recognition] gives hope for the future. It’s great to know that we are doing the right things at the right time. We have pioneered in trying innovative practices in this situation that is new to everyone,” Lettijeff stated.

Helsinki Airport has been a frequent fixture at awards in recent years, winning recognition for having the best service in 2019 and being the best airport in Northern Europe in 2018.

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