On 16 December 2016, 80 years have passed since the opening to traffic of Helsinki Airport at Malmi in Finland. The Finnish aviation magazine “Aero” published the following article (translated from Finnish) in the January 1937 issue.
Even as an unofficial event, the opening to traffic of Helsinki’s land airport was given ample space in the leading Finnish newspapers.
A memorable day for our commercial aviation.
Helsinki Airport opened to traffic.
The 16th of December last year was a great day for our aviation and especially for our commercial air traffic. On that day, the land-based Helsinki Airport was temporarily opened for traffic, and at the same time year-round operations commenced.
As the official opening of the Airport will be postponed, the present opening for traffic took place without much festivity. There had been talk that the first plane to land at the Airport would be the scheduled Swedish airliner, but, as is appropriate, the first one to land was a Finnish aircraft. Piloted by warrant officer Heiskala, a Tuisku [Snowstorm] arrived – a plane designed by a Finn, built in Finland, and with a Finnish pilot in the cockpit.
The second aircraft was of domestic construction too and flown by one of our countrymen, as the “Pilvetär”, piloted by Lt. Col. Ahonius, landed right after the Tuisku. Then it was the turn of the aircraft that was to open actual passenger traffic. The [Junkers Ju-52/3m] “Södermanland” of Aerotransport [ABA], with the veteran Finland route pilot Ernst Roll at the controls, landed right on time. Incidentally, 12 years ago, Roll was also the pilot who opened the floatplane traffic between Stockholm and Helsinki. A choice audience of people concerned was present, and a group of representatives of Swedish commercial aviation arrived aboard Södermanland. Due speeches were given, and a keepsake was presented by Mrs Ståhle [wife of the Finnish airline Aero Ltd’s managing director Gunnar Ståhle] to Mr. Roll, who on this particular flight reached the limit of one million kilometers flown. Soon after maintenance and refuelling, “Södermanland” turned for take-off and started on the return leg. By this modest ceremony, a new era in our air traffic had been opened. A land-based air connection had been opened, the land airport of the capital had been taken into use, and year-round scheduled traffic was now a reality.
The scheduled plane had naturally landed also in Turku. There too a small festive occasion was held with honors especially for Mr. Roll.
In the preceding days Aero Ltd had left for good the tip of Katajanokka headland, the air harbor of our capital until now, and the last flights by floatplane had been flown. The land airport had now seen its first regular customers.