Modernizing an airport – in a controlled way

A massive modernization project is underway at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. In large investment projects, it is paramount that the engineers can work with up-to-date baseline data. Finavia chose Etteplan as its partner to make the technical documentation process even more reliable.



Finavia enables safe, smooth and competitive air traffic in Finland. It manages and maintains the air navigation system and 21 airports in Finland and provides a vast array of services to airlines and passengers.

Finavia is currently implementing a massive project to modernize the Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The investment, worth approximately EUR 900 million, aims at strengthening the Helsinki-Vantaa airport’s position in the face of international competition and as a hub for air traffic between Asia and Europe. The development project involves expanding the terminal by more than 100,000 square meters, building new aircraft parking spaces and taxiways and expanding the parking facilities for passengers. Following the completion of the expansion project in 2020, the Helsinki-Vantaa airport will be ready to serve up to 20 million passengers annually.

In construction and modernization projects, the engineers require reliable, up-to-date baseline data to work with. Successful engineering ensures quick execution with no disruption to the airport’s other operations. For air traffic safety, it is critical to know, for example, the location of underground infrastructure, such as electricity supply and telecommunications connections.

“An undertaking of this scale involves a number of simultaneous projects where the baseline data is being worked on. It is important to have rapid access to the technical documentation of the projects in order to provide the engineers of the next project with the correct data,” says Real Estate Manager Kari Luhtanen of Finavia.

Towards better data and a better process

When the Helsinki-Vantaa airport’s development project was launched, Finavia wanted to ensure reliable up-to-date data and a fast and smooth technical documentation process. Etteplan was chosen as the partner for developing the operations.

“We wanted more than just instructions: we were looking for a different approach where the partner’s project coordinator would be involved in our work. We wanted a new operating model,” Luhtanen says.

Etteplan’s project coordinator participated in Finavia’s selected projects and was in charge of creating and returning the documentation, while at the same time identifying areas in need of development. Based on this, Etteplan presented Finavia with a proposal for an improved operating model.

“During the pilot projects, the technical documentation was returned to our up-to-date data as planned. This had never happened in recent years,” Luhtanen says.

Continuous development – together

As of autumn 2016, Finavia started making use of the continuous service provided by Etteplan. Now a project coordinator from Etteplan is involved in every new construction project that is started up.

There is a huge amount of documentation, which means that changes take time, but Luhtanen is already convinced of the benefits.

“The results have exceeded our expectations. We have been able to improve the quality of both the baseline data and our operations. Our process has been described and our operational chain is now faster and more reliable. Cost-savings are an added plus, as engineers no longer need to do extra work,” Luhtanen sums up.

Finavia is also pleased with the smooth cooperation and Etteplan’s service attitude.

“Etteplan’s people have been really committed and proactive. They have taken things forward boldly and with great drive. Cooperation has been open and easy from the get-go.”

Finavia will continue to develop its technical documentation together with Etteplan. The 3D environment changes the form of documentation, and Finavia also aims at increasing automation to speed up the process.

“We have set up a steering group with Etteplan, where we strive to find the best solutions together. In addition to expertise and taking the customer into account, Etteplan’s strengths include precisely the desire to learn and develop its own operations as well,” Luhtanen says.

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