Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 - Page 61

the fact that the passengers are only passing through (the faster the better). Instead of building up airport services, why not utilise the existing service offering? “At Tampere, it would make sense to use the Tampere railway station as a hub for all modes of transport. Airline passengers could spend some time in the Tampere city centre prior to the flight, instead of wandering around at the airport,” Virkkunen says. The concrete visualisation of the concept – which features e.g. low-cost gates and runways – has been conducted by architect agency Lunden. All and all, the AiRRport gurus have been working on the concept since 2012. True Intermodality In the logistical circles, ‘intermodality’ has been one of the buzz words for years now – but Virkkunen insists that nothing really concrete has been done about it. “Now what we need to do is forget the traditional view of air terminal and find a way to do it more effectively, in a manner that puts the customer first. The promise of AiRRport concept is ‘Travel Made Easy’ – and we are convinced that we can deliver on that promise.” For the Tampere Airport, this could mean that the present annual passenger volume of 500,000 people will explode to five million within a period of, say, 10–15 years. The AiRRport planners have a wealth of research to back up their master plan. The International Air Traffic Association (IATA), for example, believes that queues won’t be around for long at airports. Hi-tech is expected to hit traditional safety checks in force in the coming years and tools such as ‘Trusted Traveller’ systems will be more widely deployed. “Everything is geared towards automating the flow of people at airports anyway. What we’re looking to do is to optimise it,” Virkkunen says. Low Cost Gates. Customers’ Rebellion Jouni Lehtomaa comments that airport will simply have to change, since the passengers – the customers – won’t tolerate the present situation for much longer. “The price of airfare has already come down thanks to budget airlines, but the airports have not changed with the times.” Harri Ojala from the Tampere Chamber of Commerce adds that the Tampere Region now possesses a great chance to take the local economy to the next level. “According to our studies, the most important issue on the local companies’ wishlist is a fully functional, international airport,” Ojala says, adding that the AiRRport concept could give the local business climate a serious boost. “The AiRRport concept could launch a positive cycle where a number of good things come to exist.” Managing Director Päivi Myllykangas from Tampere Region Development Agency is thinking along the same lines and adds: “Tampere is the second largest growth center and the most attractive city to live in Finland. Furthermore, foreign-owned companies appreciate the availability of skilled workers our university city has to offer. Half of the companies say that skilled workforce is the reason why they located in Tampere; two-thirds stay because of them.” The Missing Link Toni Virkkunen is fond of talking about the “physical Internet” in this context – meaning that as data travels the worldwide web, so do people and goods travel in a global network of their own. The physical Internet is formed by roads, railway tracks and vapour trails up in the sky, but something is missing from the equation. “To make this work, we need a better interface between air travel and road and rail traffic,” he says, adding that this link is rather tiny one – considering the vastness of the entire logistics system – but without it, nothing will change. One Vision T he AiRRport vision goes hand in hand with Tampere Region Master Plan 2040, which predicts intense growth for the region that is already the most attractive area in the eyes of citizens and companies alike. By 2040, there will be 480,000 people in the Region – and 70,000 new jobs. Improved connectivity is a ‘must’ in this scenario, says Tampere Region Director Päivi Nurminen. “The AiRRport concept is a key part of our drive to make the most of the emerging opportunities,” she says, adding that international focus is something that the Tampere Region wants – and the new concept delivers that very well, indeed. “Under the concept, both new and old companies are able to tap into the global flow of traffic more effectively. The overall impact goes well beyond regional considerations,” she says. The local municipalities – numbering eight in total – stand united in developing the Tampere Region which has made it easier to get things done. Nurminen doesn’t hesitate to call it “the best regional collaboration” in the whole country. “We have been able to pursue growth and seek answers to, for instance, traffic challenges without being hindered by municipality borders,” Nurminen says. Nordicum 59