The future of Malmi Airport is open once again

Apr 5, 2019

The protection proposal based on the Act on the Protection of Built Heritage is returned to the ELY Centre for new processing

The Minister of the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen (Center) has today approved the complaint against the rejection of the protection proposal of Malmi Airport and returned the matter to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) for new processing.

In 2015, the culturally and historically valuable environment of Malmi Airport was proposed for protection under the Act on the Protection of Built Heritage. Heritage Finland, the leading government agency in cultural heritage matters, required in its statement the protection of the entire airport area. The ELY Centre also acknowledged the undisputed value of the area. The ELY Centre did not, however, make a decision to protect the area, on the grounds of City of Helsinki’s pledge to protect the characteristics of the area in the detailed zoning plan.

In July 2018, the Friends of Malmi Airport Association, who made the protection proposal, appealed to the Ministry of the Environment, finding the reasons for the rejection unsustainable. Officials of the Ministry of the Environment have confirmed the shortcomings during the legality review of the ELY Centre’s decision. In the plans presented by the city, protection is not realized. Instead, economic values are set above the unique cultural values of Malmi Airport. The protection decision has been returned to the ELY Center of Uusimaa for new processing.

The prohibition of endangerment of the airport area, issued in 2017, also remains in effect.

The Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport Association, Mr. Timo Hyvönen , is relieved and happy.

“The debate on the future of Malmi Airport now returns to square one, and the matter is once again completely open. The prohibition of endangerment protects the buildings and the environment, and we hope that the city will now allow the aviation industry, an essential part of the cultural environment, to continue.

The advancement of protecting the airport opens up a good opportunity to start refining it into an intelligent aviation development center in Finland. The location in the capital has a clear advantage in international competition, and Malmi can become a major light aviation hub.

“Malmi is the best preserved pre-WWII airport. With the help of protection, it can become a major cultural destination and even the world’s first electric passenger traffic airport. The rapid development of aviation technology requires and makes possible a significant position for the airport in intelligent mobility and flight training in the future”, says Mr. Hyvönen.

Malmi Airport is still the second busiest airport in Finland. After Finavia left at the end of 2016, operations remained at the same level. 38,397 operations were logged in 2018, most of which were pilot training for professionals and enthusiasts. Securing Finnish pilot training opportunities is even more important now that the state-owned flight school Patria is moving its operations from Tampere-Pirkkala to Spain.

The City of Helsinki has been trying to harness the field for housing construction for decades, despite the resistance of Helsinki residents. Several complaint processes against the plan are ongoing, and recent public information about the dangers and environmental impacts of construction also requires the City to rethink and recalculate.

A municipal initiative is under way, asking for an advisory referendum concerning the aviation use of Malmi Airport. In the referendum, citizens would be asked whether the airport should be kept in aviation use or not. The municipal initiative has collected over a third of the required support in record time.