City of Helsinki has not made any contracts about alternative uses of the hangar

Timo HyvönenNews archive

Many kinds of information has been around concerning the use of Helsinki-Malmi’s hangar. The latest information from the City is that “All space arrangements, including those that concern aircraft, have been agreed upon last autumn with the tenants of the area. The taking of the hangar to be used for events has been known to the tenants already at that time” (see bulletin, in Finnish).

The matter has now been clarified further through the City’s Registry Office. We have received additional information on the matter from the City’s Premises Centre, whose officials manage the space in practice.

City of Helsinki has released information about the plans to reallocate the hangar for use in events (in Finnish) and to convert the area from aviation to live music purposes (in Finnish). The will of the airport’s operators and the people of Helsinki is to keep Helsinki-Malmi Airport in aviation use also in the future, which is not an obstacle to organizing events.

In addition, the appointed events organizer is City of Helsinki’s Tukkutori, whose main task is to develop market halls, marketplaces and the Teurastamo urban culture centre and to guide the culinary culture strategy of the city. Despite its name, Tukkutori is not a company but a bureau. This means that the employees are city officials and act under officials’ responsibility for the legality of their actions.

The questions sent to the Registry Office and the received answers are given below. The matter became urgent as the tenancy contracts for aircraft storage and maintenance, hastily drawn at the turn of the year, were about to expire (15 May 2017). Because of this, a notice was given to remove all storage lockers that had accumulated in the hangar over decades. This caused bewilderment. The lockers are typically used by the smaller companies or aircraft owneers as storage space for supplies used in their daily operation.

Questions/requests and answers

The Registry Office was asked to provide the following documents:

– An agreement or meeting memorandum with a written decision stating that the great aircraft hangar is not to be used for aircraft storage, or defining the policy on the use of the hangar.

No such policy has been defined. In the City Plan, the area is an airport and the purpose of use of the hangar is its present use. Changing the purpose of use requires the normal procedure (planning permission). This also requires scrutiny by the Fire Department and by conservation officials.

– An agreement or meeting memorandum showing that the new purpose of use of the hangar has been agreed upon with the Malmi Airfield Association.

No such agreement has been made.

During late autumn and winter, the City asked for suggestions for alternative uses of the airport area. The Friends of Malmi Airport sent a list of various events organized and planned in recent years. None of these have yet been discussed with the active operators.

– Tenancy proposal to Malmi Airfield Association

No actual proposal of tenancy has been made to Malmi Airfield Association. There were negotiations around the turn of the year, but the Association withdrew at that point because the situation was unclear.

– Tenancy contracts with the present tenants of the hangar (BF-Lento Ltd, Joen Service Ltd, Aeropole Ltd)

The hangar has been rented to three companies with temporary contracts that have been valid until 15 May 2017. After this reply it has been declared that the tenancy of the hangar has been extended until the end of August 2017.

– The proposal made to Finnish Hot Rod Association about renting the hangar (car exposition)

No actual tenancy proposal has been made to FHRA, there have been negotiations about it.

In other words, the Premises Centre has no knowledge of the contracts mentioned in public in e.g. this tweet (in Finnish).

In general the Premises Centre has received a lot of feedback, even though the officials play an executive role in the matter. The actual decision-maker or decision-making apparatus has not been revealed in these answers. The most critical feedback is coming from people who do not operate at the airport themselves but are otherwise supporting its cause.

In the background: the government’s suggestion of keeping the airport

Minister of Transports and Communication Berner has in summer 2015 proposed negotiations about the airport to deputy mayor Sinnemäki. At that time Sinnemäki, in her role as an official, “stated that Helsinki has no particular willingness [to exchange lands] and I did not see such a possibility.” (Helsingin Sanomat 24.2.2017 (in Finnish)).

Prime Minister Sipilä has now renewed this proposal, and an exchange of lands has been deemed possible, as Sinnemäki states: “In theory it would be possible to discuss an exchange of lands with the State, if the State owned lands that could be used to comparable housing construction.” (Helsingin Sanomat 23 February 2017 (in Finnish) and 23 February 2017 (in Finnish).)

The Friends of Malmi Airport will continue their work to keep Malmi Airport in aviation use. We recommend that the State of Finland and City of Helsinki pursue negotiations in the matter, and hope for a fruitful and constructive attitude of the new City Council. We invite the new Councillors to get acquainted with the Airport’s activities at Helsinki Fly In on Saturday 27 May 2017, where presentations will be given, among others, about the Airport’s role in Finnish history, and the advent of new kinds of aviation and the related possibilities (to be given by IBM’s leading drone expert in Europe).

The majority of Helsinkians and Finns are in favor of keeping Helsinki-Malmi Airport in aviation use (see http://www.malmiairport.fi/en/public-opinion/).