22 May 2015: Statement presented at public demonstration

Seppo SipiläNews archive

In a demonstration outside the Council of State’s stateroom “Smolna” in Helsinki on 22 May 2015, citizens presented the government coalition negotiators the following statement on Malmi Airport. The speaker was Mr. Jussi Frisk.

Distinguished coalition negotiators,

We have come here to support your negotiations and offer input.

The previous government made in March 2014 a surprising decision about Malmi Airport. The State was to withdraw from there on very fast schedule, and the area to be taken into residential use. It has been brought to light that this decision was based on erroneous information and should be cancelled.

This week, the final report of a workgroup commissioned by Minister of Traffic Risikko was made public. The workgroup, supervised by Trafi (the Finnish Transport Safety Agency), was commissioned to investigate how operations at Malmi Airport could continue if Finavia Ltd (the State-owned airport operator) withdrew its services.

The ministerial workgroup states that in the interest of the aviation branch and society, operations at Malmi Airport should be continued as long as it takes to find and build a substitutive airfield. The workgroup has reported conducting its task in fruitful cooperation, but for some reason some of its members have withdrawn from its findings after the publication of the final report.

The minister also appointed an investigator to look into the matter. The investigator, Member of Parliament Eero Lehti, also found that the most sensible alternative was to maintain Malmi Airport. Air traffic is growing rapidly, and the fastest growth is in light business aviation that relies on the flexible services of city airports just like Malmi.  Malmi is the only international airport serving the capital region on free schedule within a 150 km (100 mi.) radius.

The citizens are deeply concerned about the future of Malmi Airport. An opinion poll conducted in August 2014 indicates that 67% of the people in Uusimaa Province and Helsinki want to keep Helsinki-Malmi Airport in aviation use.

A petition to save the Airport was presented to the Parliament in November. This Friday, it has already been signed by 70.000 people.

A residents’ initiative is being prepared for Helsinki City Council. At the moment, the required number of Helsinki residents have signed it, over 10.000 people.

The incertainty about Malmi Airport must be ended with clear decisions. We hope that the government decides that Malmi will continue as an airport. The area can be claimed by the State, e.g., by swapping lands with City of Helsinki. In this way the significant values related to aviation, history and culture as well as employment in the aviation branch and the valuable nature in the area can best be maintained.

We wish all coalition negotiators strength to cope, and hope for wise policy decisions in this matter from the government. We would especially like to thank the Center Party and the Finns Party for their long-term support to Malmi Airport, and we hope that now also the National Coalition Party grants strong support to the matter.

Malmi Airport is a matter of national significance. It must be maintained in aviation use.