21 July 2015: More than 70.000 have pleaded for Malmi Airport

Jul 21, 2015

Press release 21 July 2015

More than 70.000 have pleaded for Malmi Airport

On Sunday 19 July 2015, the Petition to Save Malmi Airport surpassed the limit of 70.000 citizens. An initiative to continue aviation use, aiming for a City Council hearing, has been signed by about 11.000 Helsinki residents who are entitled to vote. In a recent opinion poll by TNS Gallup Ltd, two out of three people living in Helsinki and the surrounding Uusimaa Province (more than a million Finns) want to keep the airport in aviation use.

City of Helsinki has for decades strived to convert the airport into a residential area, even though the clear majority of residents have wanted to keep it in aviation use. “Now the most active parties seem to be the officials of the City and especially the City Planning Department. They explain that they are thus aiming to interpret the will of City of Helsinki in the matter. Even before the public planning work began, City of Helsinki made a request to the State to end its operations at the airport. There seems to be a tremendous hurry”, wonders Mr. Timo Hyvönen, Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport. “This time around, the initiator in March 2014 was the Minister of Transports Merja Kyllönen, who had been fed one-sided, incomplete and even false information about the airport’s traffic figures and its meaning to Finnish aviation. Erroneous information has also been quoted in political parties’ statements as well as in presentations to the City’s committees and the City Council. Unfortunately, the majority of decision-makers either haven’t had the time or haven’t wanted to study the facts, nor visit the airport to get acquainted with its activities.” in autumn 2014, the General Plan’s Vision 2050 was taken directly to the City Planning Committee without a preliminary debate in the City Council about the general definitions of policy.

With more than 36.000 landings annually, Helsinki-Malmi Airport is the second-busiest airport and the most important pilot training center in Finland. The State uses the airport as a base for the Border Guard. In addition, the State-owned Finavia Ltd operates the airport, and Patria Aviation Ltd trains professional pilots there.

The Border Guard and Patria have expressed their intent to move their activities to other airports. The effect of this on the total traffic of Malmi Airport would be about 15%. The remaining 85% of the airport’s traffic and its other companies supporting the aviation activities have not been indicated a viable substitutive location, even though this has been a condition upheld by the State throughout the 2000’s.

Air traffic in Europe is estimated to grow strongly in the coming decades, and the European Commission and European Parliament have expressed their concern about sufficient runway capacity for non-scheduled business flights and general aviation in the future. Malmi Airport is the only Finnish free-schedule international airport within 150 km of the capital region.

In May 2015, Europa Nostra Finland selected Malmi Airport as the most endangered cultural heritage site in Finland, and consequently it is at present a candidate to the list of Seven Most Endangered cultural heritage sites in Europe. It has also been catalogued as a built cultural environment of national significance, which according to the Council of State’s decision should be taken into account in land use planning as a starting point.

“We now plead to the decision-makers to stop this madness and look at the greater good of society. In the context of the parliamentary elections there was much debate about this, and now it is time to live up to the promises made. The State has the right and the responsibility to look into the matter based on the facts that have come to light, because of both the functional and the historical value of Malmi Airport”, says Mr. Hyvönen.

More information:

Malmin lentoaseman ystävät ry
Chairman Timo Hyvönen
Tel. +358 50 3748371

The Petition to Save Malmi Airport: http://malmiairport.fi/en/foma/petition/signatures/

Malmi Airport statistics: https://sites.google.com/site/malmifactsandfigures/

Opinion poll by TNS Gallup Ltd: http://www.malmiairport.fi/public-opinion/

European Parliament Resolution P6_TA(2009)0036 ”An agenda for sustainable future in general and business aviation”: http://www.malmiairport.fi/resolution

Built Cultural Environments of National Significance (in Finnish): http://www.rky.fi/read/asp/r_kohde_det.aspx?KOHDE_ID=1560

Malmi Airport selected as most endangered cultural heritage site in Finland by Europa Nostra Finland: http://www.malmiairport.fi/?p=2554