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Photo: Finavia

HEL changes meaning of ‘departure time’

The method of presenting flight departure times at Helsinki Airport is changing to follow the international norm.

The Finnish airport operator Finavia says it has started using departure times at Helsinki Airport that follow international standards.

The announced flight departure time will from now on be the time when an aircraft starts moving from the bridge or the outside spot – not when it actually takes off, as was previously the case.

With the change, the departure times and their punctuality information announced on all of Finavia’s digital channels will become more specific, the operator says, as “the departure status will be based on the same measurable phase of the plane turn process as the schedule”.

“Until now, the departure time of the planes leaving from Helsinki Airport has been the time the plane leaves the runway,” explains Heini Noronen-Juhola, Finavia’s vice president.

“Going forward, the flights’ scheduled and realised departure times will be announced as so-called off-block times, which means the time the plane [leaves] the bridge or the outside spot.”

Provincial airports
The change in HEL’s flight departure status is part of a larger “digital programme” in which the phases of the planes’ turnaround process will be specified. The programme “will also improve access to flight information from the flight information interface”, Finavia says.

However, the departure time for planes leaving Finland’s provincial airports will continue to be the time that the aircraft takes off from the runway.

“We wanted to standardise our airport’s flight information to match the international practice. This way, the scheduled and realised departure times will be harmonised. The new practice will improve the presentation of departure punctuality information for the flights,” Noronen-Juhola promises.

Around 90,000 flights per year depart Finland’s biggest airport for 145 destinations, with an estimated 20 million passengers this year. Helsinki Airport is also undergoing a €1 billion development initiative that is boosting annual capacity to more than 30 million passengers.

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