Cool future for Finnair cargo terminal with 2017 start

Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo

Finnair Cargo has started construction work on its 80 million euro Cool Nordic Cargo terminal at Helsinki Airport.

The cornerstone of the facility was laid by the airline’s chief executive officer (CEO), Pekka Vauramo, and cargo managers in a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday 30 June. The facility is expected to be in operation in April 2017. Once finished, the terminal will have 31,000 square metres of warehousing space and 6,000 square metres of office space. It will be capable of handling 450,000 tonnes annually. The airline also has the option of expanding the site by a further 10,000 square metres and 100,000 tonnes annually.

The terminal will be split into three areas. This will feature a 3,000 square metre pharmaceuticals area with an average temperature of plus 20 degrees Celsius. There will be storage rooms for pharma needing to be kept from two to eight degrees Celsius. There will also be a frozen storage section.

Another section will be a 3,500 square metre perishables area. This will include a packing area for perishables needing to be stored at six to eight degrees Celsius. There will also be a storage area for products needing to be kept at two degrees Celsius. General cargo will also be stored separately. The development is part of a Finnair fleet development strategy that will see the Finnish carrier receive 19 Airbus A350s over the next five years, including four this year. This will result in cargo capacity being expanded and the opportunity to handle more volumes.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vauramo says the terminal investment is an integral part of the strategy to renew its widebody fleet. “This cargo terminal is part of the strategy that will see us increase our bellyhold cargo. It is an important step for us. With this new terminal we are able to raise the bar for our customers with more cargo terminal services and specialist services that guarantee cool conditions for cargo needing to be temperature controlled.” The facility fits in with Finnair’s plans to focus on specialist types of cargo such as pharma and perishables, Vauramo explains: “We want to specialise and find those niche cargo goods that are high-end in value.”

The terminal will also have an automated unit load device (ULD) system with a capacity for 550 ULDs and an IT system that will aim to optimise operational processes. Speaking to Air Cargo Week at the event, Finnair Cargo head of operations, Jukka Glader, says the development gives the carrier the chance to move cargo operations to another level.

Glader explains, as the terminal will be largely automated, the airline will no longer have to rely on manual labour for operations, which will improve efficiency. He adds it gives Finnair the chance to understand, “what cargo it is dealing with and when”. Once the terminal opens, he says, it will result in less cargo transited through the hub on trucks. Finnair Cargo has been awarded the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) center of excellence for independent validators certification at the event.