Half of Finland's private flight training under threat – over 100 aircraft to be left without a base

Seppo SipiläNews archive

YLE reported today 7 October 2019 on the situation at Malmi Airport. Half of the students of all private flying schools in Finland are trained at Malmi. In addition to the reported private business, aviation clubs train an equal number of flight students in Malmi, many of whom continue in the aviation profession.

Over the 2018-2019 season, Malmi Airport has been used by more than 500 aircraft. The airport is the only lane for light aircraft to the metropolitan area. In addition to the over 30 aircraft of commercial flying schools, about 15 aircraft of pilot-training aviation clubs and over 50 aircraft owned by commercial and private companies are to be left homeless from Malmi Airport. In 2019, 104 season cards for landings have been issued to aircraft that have their permanent home base at Malmi. In addition, 10-20 aircraft fly there on single landing fee basis. 

The only real alternative to Malmi Airport in Helsinki region is Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. According to a statement made by Parliament, the government must guarantee general aviation facilities in Helsinki region, so at this stage the issue must be resolved either through ownership control, guiding Malmi’s traffic to Helsinki-Vantaa, or through quick negotiations between the State and the City of Helsinki, so that operations at Malmi continue until the matter has been solved.

The City of Helsinki plans to block aviation activities at the turn of the year, though for both the town plan and the residential development plans, it would be possible to continue operating for several years without interfering with the city’s plans or policies. The reason is probably political: the municipal elections are well over a year away and may lead to a change in policy. 

The City of Helsinki has not considered aviation business significant to the city earlier, but is now in the process of establishing a new helicopter base about one kilometer from the present Malmi Airport. No alternatives for the operation of fixed-wing aircraft have been designed or implemented.