Svenska Dagbladet 22 December 2015: Studies on closing down Stockholm’s Bromma City Airport stopped

Dec 24, 2015

Svenska Dagbladet reports on Tuesday 22 December 2015 that the Swedish government has put a stop to the studies concerning closing down Stockholm’s Bromma City Airport. In the background are two communiqués of the Parliament where the majority makes it clear that there is no grounds to continue the studies concerning Stockholm’s own airport.

Almost a year ago the then Minister of Economic Affairs Anders Sundström (Social Democratic Party, SD) was given by the government an assignment to look into the possibility of moving Bromma’s traffic to Arlanda International Airport. The undertaking was begun at the request of local politicians in Bromma, who were in favor of closing down Bromma Airport and using it for residential purposes. Now, however, the government has shut down the studies.

Economy decision-makers cheer the Bromma decision

The business life rejoices over the decision that keeps Bromma Airport active. Jacob Wallenberg, Sven Hagströmer and the CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) Carola Lemne do not hesitate to express their joy. At the same time Swedavia points out that the decision coincides with both Bromma’s and Arlanda’s new passenger records.

Says Chairman of Investor AB Jacob Wallenberg, who campaigned personally for Bromma:

– I warmly welcome the Parliament’s decision that now leads to closing down the government’s investigation. Sweden needs a solid competitive edge, to which our long-term aviation infrastructure is important. That’s why we need to develop Arlanda further before it’s sensible to even start discussing Bromma’s future.

Svenskt Näringsliv is also pleased.

– A short comment to the decision is “hooray!”, says CEO Carola Lemne, pointing out that entrepreneurs everywhere in the land have “almost flared up” whenever Bromma Airport has been mentioned.

– For entrepreneurs outside Stockholm Bromma is both a way to Stockholm and a gateway out to the world. In the present situation its capacity is invaluable, says Lemne. She highlights the need to continue studies about the whole air traffic capacity of Stockholm.

The Minister of Housing Mehmet Kaplan (Environment Party) has described the decision as unfortunate and stated to the media that “the Parliament should not interfere with the Government’s authority to conduct studies”. Financier Sven Hagströmer has reacted to the comment. – Do we have a parliamentary democracy or don’t we? he asks rhetorically. Personally he has a positive view on Bromma being spared for the time being. – I’m also positively inclined to a fourth runway at Arlanda, Hagströmer adds.

Cries of joy are heard also from the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

– This decision didn’t come a day too soon. It’s been obvious all this time that among the citizens and even in the Parliament there is strong support for keeping Bromma Airport. Now there’s a big astonishment that this happens just now. But that’s politics for you, says the Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Maria Rankka.

Also the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce emphasizes that now is the time to concentrate on ensuring good international air connections to Arlanda, i.e. to getting a fourth runway and along with it better conditions for growing international traffic.

– It’s important to the competitiveness of Sweden as a whole. At the same time, Bromma will remain very important to domestic traffic. Sweden is a big, elongated country, that’s why easily accessible and flexible domestic air traffic is needed, says Maria Rankka.

According to the Villaägarna (Villa Owners’) Association 52% of interviewed Bromma residents wanted to keep the airport, while only 38% wanted to replace it with housing. This was the result of the survey by the Demoskop market research company earlier this year.

– In other words, the majority of the local people want to keep the airport, says Jacob Eliasson, director of sociopolitical matters in Villaägarna.

He points out that when the choice is between aircraft noise or extremely intensive building construction, the locals prefer to keep what already exists.

According to Eliasson, what would be valuable and centrally located land for around 50.000 new residents is also a good place for business flights.

According to Ulf Wallin, head of the information department of state-owned Swedavia Ltd that maintains Bromma and Arlanda, the decision to halt the studies about Bromma coincide with both of Stockholm’s airports breaking their records.

Last week, 2,4 million passengers had passed through Bromma [during 2015], and Arlanda is poised to surpass the 23 million passenger mark next week.

– The total air traffic capacity of the region as well as the need for housing should be studied also in the future, so it’s too early to say whether the decision to halt the study of closing Bromma ahead of time will affect very long term investments, he says.

Two years ago, Swedavia was to make a decision about a two-billion-crown (about 216 million euro) investment to Bromma, amongst other things to build a new terminal, but because of the uncertainty that prevailed at that time the sum has diminished to less than half. The decision made on Tuesday does not change the fact that now only the “modernization” of the existing passenger terminal will be realized. The present operating license of Bromma Airport is valid until 2038.