The pilot school Salpauslento Ltd, based at Helsinki-Malmi Airport, has been sold to the Helsinki-based company Planmeca Ltd. The deal includes the subsidiary Scanwings Ltd, concentrating on business flights with a considerable share of ambulance flights and organ transplant cargo flights. Salpauslento trains professional pilots for airlines and helicopter operators. Kauppalehti reports the new owner’s wish for continued operations at Helsinki-Malmi Airport, as there are no substitutive solutions.
It is worthwhile to keep aviation activites at Malmi
“We hope that also this turn of events makes negotiations about keeping aviation at Malmi easier. City of Helsinki has initiated measures to ensure continued operations of rotary-wing aircraft by planning to build a helicopter base to Kivikko. It is clear that a place is needed also for the operations of fixed-wing aircraft in Helsinki”, says the Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport Association, Mr. Timo Hyvönen.
According to Kauppalehti, the CEO of Planmeca, Mr. Heikki Kyöstilä hopes that Malmi Airport remains in operation:
“Closing down Malmi Airport would be a pity, as finding a substitutive airfield is a very long process indeed. It is advisable to reconsider closing Malmi down, as one shouldn’t tear down everything that is already there”, he says in the interview.
Hyvönen emphasizes the decision-makers’ responsibility:
”The City has kept quiet about this in spite of several contact attempts. This deal also shows that the need and potential for aviation business is great, especially now that intelligent, electric aviation as an ecological means of transport seems to be turning into reality much faster than anticipated. We hope that the people in positions of trust take the reins and make sure that the possibility of continuing this trade in the Finnish capital is ensured.”
A municipal initiative calling for a referendum about the future of Malmi Airport is in motion in Helsinki. With almost 15.000 signatures already, it is the biggest municipal initiative of all time in Finland.
The aviation industry is undergoing a revolution
Big changes are taking place in aviation. For instance, in Norway electric aviation is strongly promoted, and the first electric passenger flights are estimated to take place already in 2025. The goal is to electrify all domestic traffic by 2040. The push towards electric air traffic has strong political support in Norway.
If the airport suitable for electric passenger aviation is removed from Helsinki, this zero-emission mode of transport is lost to Finland. According to the Finnish Environment Institute, aviation may double in volume globally in the next two decades, making the new technologies indispensable.
Aviation continues at threatened Helsinki-Malmi
The aviation activities of Helsinki-Malmi Airport are under threat after the City of Helsinki through a decision of an official to discontinue the indeterminate-term lease of the runway area to Malmi Airfield Association at the end of 2019. A demand of rectification has been filed, and thus the decision has not become legal. The city has justified the discontinuation with its own use. The airport area is in the current zoning plan defined as an airport, and City of Helsinki has not had any airport activity of its own nor any plans to initiate such activity.
For the time being, aviation continues normally at Helsinki-Malmi, the biggest center of general aviation in Finland. An assessment made by Finavia Ltd under commission from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (see links) states that “in summary, about 70% of flight operations at Malmi are pilot training and about 10-20% chartered, official or business flights. The remaining 10-20% is purely on recreational basis.” Three commercial pilot schools and several aviation clubs with pilot training operate at Malmi Airport.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) method of compiling statistics of aircraft movements, Helsinki-Malmi with its 40.000 annual operations is by a wide margin the second-busiest airport in Finland after Helsinki-Vantaa International. There is no substitutive airfield for Malmi’s activities.
News article in Kauppalehti (in Finnish): https://www.kauppalehti.fi/uutiset/hammasmiljardoori-kyostilan-yllatysveto-ostaa-kaksi-lentoyhtiota-malmin-kentan-sulkeminen-olisi-saali/11b448c0-a8d9-4a96-8a53-faeb7505b273
Finavia’s estimate to the Ministry of Transport and Communications (in Finnish):
Up-to-date daily operations log at Helsinki-Malmi Airport:
Municipal initiative about a referendum (in Finnish):