Complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about actions of State and Helsinki

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

Attn: Parliamentary Ombudsman

COMPLAINT 19 April 2021

Request for Investigation and Action

Operators at Malmi Airport

Companies, communities, aviators

State’s responsibility to implement alternative solutions for Malmi Airport’s aviation operations

The State of Finland is clearly not complying with the decision made by the Council of State in 2014 nor with the conditions set and actions required by the Finnish Parliament regarding Malmi Airport (“Lex Malmi Statement”).

In the budgetary framework negotiations in 2014, the following was recorded regarding the operations of Malmi Airport: “In order to improve the conditions for housing construction in the Helsinki region, the state will withdraw from Helsinki-Malmi Airport with its operations so that the area can be taken into housing production at the beginning of the 2020s at the latest. The change requires the transfer of the Border Guard and civil aviation to a compensatory airport. The Border Guard starts preparations for the acquisition of a base at Helsinki-Vantaa. Finavia Plc and the Finnish Border Guard agree on the space arrangements so that the move from Malmi to the new premises is cost-neutral.”

The Parliament’s Lex Malmi statement from 2018 requires the government to take action to arrange compensatory solutions: 

The Parliament demands that the Government take measures to secure compensatory airport operations so that the aviation operations at Malmi Airport can continue within good connections and distances.”

The actions of the Ministry of Transport and Communications have been inadequate and failed. The measures proposed by the Ministry to fulfill the requirements of the statement have been repeatedly rejected by Parliament. 

No compensatory measures have been taken for civil aviation. E.g. the volume of air traffic, the need for hangars, fuel supply, other facilities and arrangements have been ignored. The serious shortcomings of the measures taken are obvious: none of the airfields in Uusimaa province (excl. Helsinki-Vantaa) are sufficient for Malmi’s operations. According to the Ministry’s own report 26/2014, the small airfields do not have enough capacity even for Malmi’s recreational aviation, which according to the same report has accounted for 10-20% of Malmi’s operations.

Malmi’s operators have had no choice but to continue their investments in and operations at Malmi Airport, and no reason to suspect that the State would not comply with the written conditions imposed on its decisions . The responsibility for arranging compensatory facilities is clearly assigned to the State. The relevant officials and the City of Helsinki do not care about these decisions and the conditions they impose, quoting municipal sovereignty. However, the State’s decisions cannot be violated by municipal-level decisions.

The city’s premature actions have caused significant damage to the trade of Malmi Airport’s operators and prevented them from conducting business. The situation is now critical, and the nationwide continuity of the activities in question is under threat. According to Article 18 of the Finnish Constitution, the public authorities must take care of the protection of the labor force.

We call on the State to take urgent action to resolve this unsustainable situation. Alternatives include a new airport in the Helsinki area, e.g. on land reclaimed from the sea, an agreement on the continued use of Malmi Airport, or adapting Helsinki-Vantaa Airport also to the needs of small aircraft. The use of Helsinki-Vantaa for general aviation is possible through corporate governance by the State owner. The solution must be implemented until a permanent, compensatory infrastructure for general aviation in the Helsinki metropolitan area is in place and the continuity of the trade of Malmi’s operators has been secured. 

We ask the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate the matter without delay and to take a decision on it in order to promote the matter properly and implement the necessary measures.

Entrepreneurs and other operators of Malmi Airport