Supreme Administrative Court gives controversial ruling on general plan of Malmi Airport

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled against the complaints filed about the General Plan as it relates to Malmi Airport. The verdict was reached by a 4-1 vote against the view of the rapporteur, assistant judge Petri Hellstén.

Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court Kari Tornikoski, who agreed with the rapporteur’s view, argued for a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on the basis of, among other things, cultural values. In his voting statement he said: “The scale of the construction referred to the area is high taking into account its designation as a Built Cultural Environment of National Significance (RKY), and such new construction would substantially alter the character of the area and its features related to the earlier aviation use.” In his statement he concluded that “the decisions of the City Council and Helsinki Administrative Court must thus be overturned as being against the law.” Tornikoski’s statement is in agreement with the view of the National Board of Antiquities.

The ongoing transition in aviation is a strong argument for keeping the airport in aviation use

For the defenders of Malmi Airport, the ruling is naturally a disappointment. Discussions with City of Helsinki have been actively kept going, and this will continue with a special emphasis on conveying information about the development of aviation and the possibilities of Malmi Airport.

The Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport (FoMA), Mr. Timo Hyvönen emphasizes the ongoing transition in aviation.

“In addition to cultural values, the significance of Malmi Airport to Helsinki may be especially great in the near future traffic-wise. Aviation is undergoing a great transition, and it will soon be the most ecological means of transportation with the fast progress of electric aviation. Helsinki must retain its accessibility by climate-friendly means. Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is not a solution for that.”

Hyvönen urges municipal decision-makers to return to square one.

“The situation has changed radically since the general plan process began. The revolution in aviation is quite significant. Now that the major part of the General Plan has been found to be against the law, it must be reconsidered as a whole. The pressure of residential construction can certainly be relieved e.g. in the Östersundom area, which was annexed to Helsinki ten years ago and already has an approved joint general plan.”

FoMA continues its work to keep Malmi Airport in aviation use. Chairman Hyvönen hopes for even tighter collaboration with the city.

“I hope that we can find a consensus about aviation use during new planning. It’s about time we got to develop the aviation activities instead of never-ending complaint processes. In any case, FoMA will continue its work following Winston Churchill’s advice – “never give in, never!”

Further actions to follow

The vote indicates that even the Supreme Administrative Court wasn’t unanimous in the matter. In its ruling, it interprets individual RKY-designated areas differently. There may be grounds for a further complaint on the EU level. FoMA will study the ruling and consider possible further actions.

A prohibition of endangerment is in effect in the area of Malmi Airport, as the protection proposal of the area, filed in 2015, is currently being considered by the Ministry of the Environment. Another proposal for protection based on the law on nature conservatio will be filed at a later stage.

More information: 
Friends of Malmi Airport
Timo Hyvönen, Chairman
chair@malmiairport.fi
Tel. +358 50 374 8371

Ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court (in Finnish): https://www.kho.fi/fi/index/paatoksia/vuosikirjapaatokset/vuosikirjapaatos/1541580128040.html

The original complaint: http://www.malmiairport.fi/malmin_lentoasema_vie_helsingin_yleiskaavan_korkeimpaan_hallinto_oikeuteen/

Östersundom can accommodate 80.000 – 100.000 new Helsinkians (in Finnish): http://yhteinenostersundom.fi/

Easyjet has announced beginning trials with 9-seat electric aircraft already in 2019: https://electrek.co/2018/10/29/electric-flying-is-becoming-a-reality-says-easyjet-ceo-electric-plane/