As you may already know, Finnair will have doubled its MD-11 fleet when it receives its 8th aircraft next year. By the time A350:s or B787:s are introduced, the number is expected to be at least 10.
This means that HEL may in the near future have to host a long haul fleet of 10 MD-11 and 7 B757. If you take a look at the airport maps the Finnish CAA provides, you may notice a certain problem. I've highlighted the non-EU part of Terminal 2 in the thumbnail:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's four whole gates! (gate 29 is shared, though)
Dedicating more of the terminal to non-EU flights doesn't seem feasible, especially since there needs to be a passport control area in between.
I've seen plans regarding a new terminal area between the runways, but I'm not sure how smart it would be to implement such an enormous increase in capacity before passenger numbers have clearly grown enough. I have again highlighted the relevant area in the thumbnail: (Note that there isn't as much space to the left of T2 as the map would indicate.)
This situation raises some questions I would appreciate opinions on:
-Since the reason behind Finnair's amazing growth is the excellent hub at HEL, how badly will possible congestion in the current terminal hurt it?
-How can the chicken/egg-problem be solved? Passenger numbers won't grow without more gates, but a new terminal area would be such a dramatic increase in capacity that it would probably be unprofitable for a long time.
-What would happen to the current terminals? Domestic traffic isn't going to fill T1 and T2, and you can't really start shipping transit passengers back and forth if you keep some international flights in T2. (Well you could, but it would seriously hurt HEL's image as a fast hub.)
-Will Finnair management put out a contract on CAA management if they screw up HEL?
-How much of a hassle would a new terminal area be for passengers from/to HEL? Would you complain if check in was in T2, and you had to take a train to Tx afterwards?