“The growth in travel is fantastic. We are seeing an increased demand for domestic, European and intercontinental flights. Our biggest challenge is to make travel as smooth as possible for passengers. It is a good idea to be at the airport well in advance because there can be queues at the check-in counters,” says Kjell-Åke Westin, airport director at Stockholm Arlanda.
Air travel is setting new records. Last year, Stockholm Arlanda had 23 million passengers, an increase of almost 3.5 million over the past five years. Since the beginning of the year, Stockholm Arlanda has added seven new routes, including Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)’s new non-stop service to Los Angeles and Air Berlin’s service to its major hub in Düsseldorf. In June, three new routes were launched, two to Beirut and one to Bucharest.
July is by far one of the biggest months for travel at Stockholm Arlanda. Last year, almost 2.2 million passengers flew to or from Stockholm Arlanda. London was the most popular destination, followed by Copenhagen and Oslo. Holiday destinations such as Berlin, Paris, Palma de Mallorca and Antalya also topped the list.
During the first quarter of the year, the number of international passengers increased 9 per cent compared to lat year. In order to meet the heavy demand for holiday flights,SAS, Norwegian and Turkish Airlines, for instance, are adding new seasonal destinations around the Mediterranean in July.
"In the years ahead, we are making major investments of around seven billion kronor to expand capacity at Stockholm Arlanda. This involves, among other things, building a brand-new pier and increasing services through new shopping areas, more security checkpoints and increased baggage handling capacity," Mr Westin notes.
To handle the heavy summer passenger volume, the airport is taking a number of measures:
- Increased staffing of terminal hosts
- Temporary solutions to better use check-in counters and create clear queuing systems to reduce crowding
- Making it easy for some passenger categories - for instance, cruise passengers - so they can check in before they get to the airport
- Relocation of airlines from Terminal 5 to Terminal 2 to create a more even allocation of passengers in the terminals
Passengers can do a great deal to avoid stress and queues. That includes getting to the airport well in advance during the summer months, checking in while they are still at home, packing properly, ensuring bags are of the size and weight their airline requires, being familiar with the liquid regulations in effect so that they check in any liquids and creams and do not risk having to get rid of their sunscreen at the security checkpoint. By making use of self-service check-in and the self-service bag drop (checking in their own baggage), passengers can speed up their own check-in.