Situation of Helsinki-Malmi Airport 8/2022

Seppo SipiläNews archive

The pressure from the City of Helsinki is now at its strongest, and it is pushing and even breaking all boundaries. Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment seems to sympathize with the city’s projects even if the laws could well be interpreted differently. Even within the city, however, uncertainty prevails – some of the city’s people responsible for the Malmi project have changed or been replaced, and even the new ones have no information even about what will happen in the coming months, let alone the coming years. The situation is very unclear, but everything is far from lost as far as Helsinki-Malmi Airport is concerned.

The city’s communication is trying to give the impression that everything has already been resolved and the Malmi special operation has already been completed. This is not true at all. Some of the numerous legal and other processes that are in progress are presented below. The longest ones will last for several more years. For some reason, the city does not communicate real schedules to the citizens, but tries to create the image that construction has already started. In fact, not even a site plan has been approved for the area.

As regards the quality and truthfulness of the communication, you can compare (in Finnish) the fact-based compilation to the city’s version. For example, the city’s answer to question 11 about the support of the people of Helsinki is quite peculiar.

At Malmi Airport, strange and even inappropriate comments have been heard from city employees and partners: “All the meadows at Malmi Airport should be torched” and “Fortunately we have direct contact with the owner of the area”. To each their opinion.

The opinion of the people of Helsinki is still clear : Helsinki-Malmi Airport should be kept in aviation use!

Protection application now in Supreme Administrative Court

Our protection application from 2015 has now progressed far, to the consideration of the Supreme Administrative Court. In our opinion, the grounds for looking into it are clear, but the judiciary makes its decisions independently. We hope that the matter will be taken into consideration. If this happens, the processing usually takes 1.5-2 years. In this case, the ban on endangerment would continue until at least 2024. In the best case, the process will then return to square one to be started all over again, the end result being the protection of the area.

City plans in the Supreme Administrative Court

Appeals have been initiated to the Supreme Administrative Court in the spring regarding the first detailed city plans of Malmi Airport’s area (Nallenrinne, Lentoasemankorttelit). Dissenting opinions about them were already left by members of the city’s Urban Environment Committee because of their obvious illegality. Other detailed plans in the area have not yet been submitted for processing.

The Airfield Association’s land lease agreement is still valid

The dispute of the Malmi Airfield Association EFHF and the city over the Association’s land lease agreement is going to the Court of Appeal in April 2023 if there are no delays. The Airfield Association’s web camera allows you to follow the events on Malmi Airport. 

Already years behind schedule

At present, the start of housing construction is already two to three years behind schedule, and if the city plan is approved, there will inevitably be corresponding rounds of appeals for building permit applications. The field will therefore remain available to be returned to aviation use also in the future.

The planned construction schedule will not be realized. Photo: City of Helsinki

Supreme Administrative Court decision on the general plan in the European Court of Human Rights

In 2018, the Friends of Malmi Airport Association’s appeal against the general plan was rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court, but the grounds for the decision were kept secret from the association. This secrecy was then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but there is no information about its situation. If the appeal is accepted, the impact on the transparency of the Finnish legal system could be significant. The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision regarding the Malmi airport came about by voting 2-1 against the rapporteur’s motion, even though residential construction in all other areas of the capital designated as Built Cultural Environments of National Significance (RKY) was rejected.

The airport’s area has been nominated to be added to Sipoonkorpi National Park

In autumn 2021, the area of Malmi Airport area has been proposed in Parliament for addition to the Sipoonkorpi National Park. The matter is still pending.

Administrative complaints about demolition projects

Also pending for the airport’s area are e.g. a complaint about an incorrect aircraft hangar demolition permit and about the land rent of the Aeronautical Association’s office, and a complaint is being prepared about the permit issued by the ELY Centre to demolish a residential building in the area that is used by bats as a nesting place.

Halt requested to excavations for main natural gas pipeline

Efforts are now being made to dig a new alignment for the main natural gas pipeline, which has been used to transport gas coming from Russia, through the Built Cultural Environment of National Significance (RKY) of ​​Malmi Airport and its valuable meadows. Gas no longer flows from Russia, but floating gas storages are planned for the Gulf of Finland. It is difficult to assess whether the pipe would then be useful for transporting gas to the east.

During the preliminary excavation work for the gas pipeline, the original airport apron made of concrete slabs in the 1930s was discovered under the surface asphalt, almost complete and in good condition. The ELY Centre has interpreted the instructions of the Finnish Museum Agency very broadly, so a request for a prohibition of measures was filed there for the RKY area that is subject to the prohibition of endangerment to ensure the preservation of its conservation values.

According to the pipeline transfer agreement, the only reason for the transfer is land use changes, i.e. the placement of the building masses drawn in the city plans on the south side of the airport. However, it would be entirely possible to use the old, functional main pipe for most of the way, saving a significant part of the costs of more than 3 million euros for the city residents. The pipeline project can still be cancelled. Possibly, when completed, the pipeline will not affect flight operations.

The airport is still in operable condition

Despite the city’s actions, the airport area can still be restored to flying condition. The air traffic control tower’s equipment is there and the runway lights are in place, although unfortunately they have been vandalized to some extent. Currently, the airport is temporarily closed until midnight on 11 September 2022.

The present situation has a dire impact on Finnish aviation

Malmi’s situation is truly crippling for aviation. The impact on pilot training volumes is significant: for example, an ultralight club that previously trained 30-50 pilots a year has ceased training activities because there is no airport. Clubs in exile from Malmi have significantly reduced their equipment and some have packed it in altogether. 

FoMA is not an aviation association, so looking for replacement solutions is not part of our activities. The Finnish Aeronautical Association is looking for them, and did indeed propose a new airfield on the Porvoo border. The initiative fell into oblivion in the government and Porvoo had a negative attitude towards it, as Malmi indeed would be the best option by far. 

The Lex Malmi statement issued by Parliament is still valid

The Parliament’s Lex Malmi statement from 2018 is still valid. According to it, the government has the responsibility to implement proper solutions to replace Malmi. Despite the ministry’s repeated explanations, the Parliament has kept the statement valid for years.

The airport definitely isn’t lost

So the hope lives on and the association continues its activities. The work has after all been done successfully for more than 20 years. In this situation, it is not possible to make any guesses about the continuity of aviation operations one way or the other. The world situation may also affect the needs of air bases in the capital region. If the suspension of flight operations continues, FoMA must take care that the field remains in what we call Tempelhof mode – ready to be returned to its proper use.  

Join the Association’s activities!

The board of the association will once again rotate as it does annually, and candidates are needed for this work. In practice, the board’s big job is to monitor decisions regarding Malmi Airport with other volunteers and to make sure that they are made appropriately and in the right direction. Unfortunately, this most often means appeals to administrative or other judicial instances. Contact info@malmiairport.fi. Get to know the association’s activities and previous events through this timeline (in Finnish, sorry).

Support our activities – buy a cap!

In the meantime, it’s worth celebrating Helsinki-Malmi Airport and its almost 85-year-old history! It is best done by clicking https://kauppa.malmiairport.fi/ (in Finnish, please use auto translate if needed) and purchasing fine Malmi products for yourself, as a gift or to share – clothes, posters, stickers, everything visible. The proceeds go directly to the airport’s rescue work, i.e. the most important thing. The appearance of Malmi Airport in the street scene keeps the issue in people’s minds and keeps the conversation going – let’s not allow the matter to be forgotten!