Responsibilities related to opening Malmi airport area to the public are unclear

Feb 2, 2022

The City of Helsinki has today announced that it has opened the gates to the airfield area of ​​Helsinki-Malmi Airport. The airport still enjoys official airport status. At present, flight operations have been suspended by NOTAM until 14 March. 

Project manager Kimmo Kuisma stated at the press conference that no formal decision has been made on the recreational use of the airport area, but that the “City of Helsinki” has decided on the matter. It is completely unclear who is responsible for the safety of citizens moving in the area or for maintaining the area. The city is e.g. urged the public using the area to note that there are also two emergency rescue routes through the airfield and to listen carefully to the sounds of sirens. The city has not published any decision-making documentation that would identify those who are responsible in this matter. 

The airport area has been leased to the Malmi Airfield Association, but the city intends to use it without clearing the matter with aviation authorities. The right to control the area is currently pending before the Court of Appeal.

In 2015, the airport area was presented for protection under the Building Heritage Act. Due to the protection proposal, there is a ban on endangering the area. The area has even greater landscape and cultural environmental values ​​than the zoning of Maria Hospital and the banks of the Espoo River, which have just been rejected by the administrative court. The area of Malmi Airport is a Built Cultural Environment of National Significance defined by the National Board of Antiquities and the Ministry of the Environment.

The first town plans for the area have been discussed by the city council. Dissenting opinions have already been submitted at the board stage and later appealed to the administrative court. The City of Helsinki has not investigated the impact of the plans on the area’s natural values, as required by law. On this same basis, the zoning of Östersundom stopped in 2021.

Timo Hyvönen, Chairman of the Friends of Malmi Airport Association, states that these actions confirm that the city is acting very arbitrarily in the matter of Malmi: “Today’s events clearly show that the city has no intention of finding out or taking into account the natural values ​​of the area. Indifference to the region’s characteristics and cultural values ​​is obvious and must be taken into account in court proceedings.”  

The association has tried to negotiate with the city for years, but the city refuses to meetings. 

Even though the aviation needs are urgent, the city is planning a public event with pony rides and snow sculpture competitions on the airfield on 19 February. Project manager Kuisma said in his statement: “Let’s see who takes over the area.” This gives the impression that the city has no actual use for the area, but there is a desire to stop aviation activities in Helsinki and shut down the living cultural and aviation community of Malmi Airport.

The Friends of Malmi Airport will take part in the February event, providing the public with factual information about the airport, its history, natural values ​​and ongoing legal proceedings.

The Friends of Malmi Airport Association has been founded in 2002. The purpose of the Association is to maintain the operations of Malmi Airport in its current location and to develop, promote and support the operations of the airport. The Association’s aim is also to nurture and protect the diverse nature and built cultural sites and environments at Malmi as well as their character and special features, and to promote their sustainable management and use. In addition, the purpose of the association is to document, store and transmit information related to the intangible and tangible cultural heritage of the area.