A one-week interruption to aviation at Malmi Airport

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

The biggest concert in Finland will take place at Malmi Airport next Tuesday and Wednesday, 23 – 24 July 2019. In all, no less than 100.000 specatators are expected to come listen to British pop star Ed Sheeran.

The busy aviation activities at Malmi Airport were interrupted yesterday on Thursday to make room for the preparations of the concert. The stage will be built in front of the historic terminal building. It is no small operation, as Malmi Airport is the second-busiest airfield in Finland. The interruption of aviation activities will last for one week, until Friday evening 26 July. In practice this means the cancellation of about 1500 flight operations.

The major part of the cancelled operations are pilot training, which the flying schools have tried to move to Tampere-Pirkkala and Turku airports to the extent it’s possible, including aircraft, personnel and students. For the most part, though, pilot training will be interrupted for the duration of the concert arrangements.

Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is not available to general aviation aircraft. According to Finavia Ltd, there is no room there for parking small aircraft.

Significant opportunities for Malmi Airport

”The concert is a marvellous example of the versatile possibilities of using Malmi Airport. It is natural that the first time around, the arrangements take more time than at previously used venues”, says Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport Association, Mr. Timo Hyvönen.

Elsewhere around the world, the impact of similar airport concerts on the aviation activities is remarkably small, only a few days or in the best case just hours. In the future, this will be possible at Malmi too based on these lessons learned. For instance, similar-size concerts have been organized for years at Brighton’s Shoreham, an old airport similar to Malmi.
 
The residents around Malmi Airport and experts on nature are worried about the effects of the concert on the airport’s natural values and its surroundings. The organizer assures that the natural values will be preserved, and on-site the matter has obviously been taken seriously. The sensitive meadows have been carefully fenced off.
 
”Helsinki needs Malmi Airport for both air traffic and as a venue for events requiring a large space. The weather forecast looks great for this outdoors event. We warmly welcome Ed and his fans to Malmi”, Mr. Hyvönen smiles.

Events support developing Malmi as an airport

Event activity like this can easily fund the development of the airport in the fture. The direct revenue from Ed Sheeran’s concert is estimated at about 10 million euro. In addition, businesses in Helsinki gain significant indirect profit. City of Helsinki collects a rent of 90 cents per spectator, i.e. close to 100.000 euro. This sum covers a part of the expense of building new passageways to the airfield.
 
“We have already had good cooperation with the Finnish Hot Rod Association for years. Once they even paid for renewing the pavement of the runways. The recent Aerobatics National Championships drew in almost 10.000 spectators, and bigger airshows have brought almost as many people to Malmi as this concert”, Hyvönen continues.
 
“We hope that all Helsinkians attending the concert will take part in the municipal initiative demanding the decision-makers to organize a referendum about the future of Malmi Airport. It’s important to hear the citizens’ view on how the area should be developed”, says Hyvönen.

In opinion polls, Helsinkians have time after time expressed their wish to keep a space for air traffic in Helsinki. So far no official referendum has been organized, though. The initiative can be signed by all Helsinkians 15 years or older here: https://www.kuntalaisaloite.fi/fi/aloite/6466 (in Finnish)
 
More information:

Timo Hyvönen, chairman
Friends of Malmi Airport Association
tel. +358 50 3748371
chair@malmiairport.fi

Concert organizer: FullSteam Agency Oy

The busy aviation activities of Malmi Airport, its cultural heritage values and natural values are threatened by City of Helsinki’s plans to close it down and build housing there. The area’s lease to aviation activities has been discontinued with an administrative decision as of 1 January 2020. A complaint has been filed against the decision, and it has not become legal. The matter will eventually be decided in administrative court.