“Smooth, high-quality, communicative, healthy”: Helsinki Airport was recognized for its COVID-19 hygiene measures as well as for quality service
Helsinki Airport has been awarded the prize for Best European Airport in its size category (15–25 million passengers) in 2020.
The Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award was presented by Airports Council International (ACI) in light of overwhelmingly positive customer experience and feedback, as well as for its extensive and innovative measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Serving passengers and maintaining a premium customer experience are of primary importance to us also in times of crisis. We can be extremely proud of this award because last year was very trying for us in many ways. A thank you for this award goes out to every employee at the airport. They have worked on the front line, ensuring smooth and safe travel during the COVID-19 crisis. I want to express my warmest thanks to everyone for their excellent work,” says Ulla Lettijeff, SVP, Director of Helsinki Airport at Finavia.
Unusual methods brought results
Covid-19 dogs started their work today at the Helsinki Airport at arrival hall 2B. Dogs have been trained to detect the coronavirus from the test wipes given by the testperson. Service is voluntary and primarily targeted for passengers arriving from abroad. pic.twitter.com/ieMLm0KuZY
— Helsinki Airport (@HelsinkiAirport) September 22, 2020
One of the measures introduced (and one that garnered worldwide attention) was the introduction of COVID-19 sniffer dogs in a state-funded pilot scheme that researchers hoped would make the process of detecting infection cheaper, faster, and more effective.
Passengers were asked to dab their skin with a wipe, before the wipe was placed in a beaker next to control samples in other beakers.
If the dog indicated that the passenger’s sample contained the virus — usually by yelping, pawing, or lying down — the passenger is advised to take a free standard (PCR) test, using a nasal swab, to verify the dog’s verdict.
Along with the introduction of UVC disinfection of security control trays, these are just a few of the ways Helsinki Airport has been aiming to improve since January 2020. Indeed, it’s currently undergoing a full renewal thanks to the Helsinki Airport development program with a focus on customer experience and passenger comfort.
Hope for the future
“Smooth processes, high-quality services, and a customer experience that exceeds expectations are the goals we work for every day at Helsinki Airport. It is an honor to receive recognition for this work and be rated the best European airport in our size category. I am particularly proud of the recognition for our hygiene measures because health security has been a top priority for us,” Lettijeff says.
Located in Vantaa, around 17 km north of Helsinki, the airport is by far the busiest in Finland, and the fourth-busiest in the Nordic countries in terms of passenger numbers. Usually, the airport would handle around 350 departures a day, with 90% of all Finland’s international air traffic passing through the airport.
It has been consistently winning awards since 1997, with this just the latest in a long line as it tries to improve. “This 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,” says Lettijeff.
“Our biggest reward is the positive feedback from our customers. The year was difficult but the excellent cooperation enabled us to pull through.”
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