Threatened future

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Photo: Sampo Kiviniemi
Photo: Sampo Kiviniemi

The future of Helsinki-Malmi Airport is threatened by the Finnish government’s misguided decision in principle (March 2014) to close down the airport in favor of housing construction by 2020, and by short-sighted city planning by City of Helsinki. Helsinki-Malmi Airport is among the sites coveted for housing construction regardless of its weak clay ground reaching to a depth of 10-25 m, which makes the area extremely expensive to build. In the latest visions, apartment blocks for 20 000 or even 30 000 people are planned.

There is no other airport with international-level services for light air traffic within 150 km of Helsinki. With the loss of Helsinki-Malmi Airport, the strongly growing light business aviation sector would no longer have an airport with smooth service in the capital region, which is the financial locomotive of Finland. Such a course would be in direct contradiction with the European Union’s strategy on the growing air traffic.

Along with Helsinki-Malmi Airport, the aviation sector would lose all the synergy advantages of the centralized aviation, maintenance and repair activities that have developed over the decades. This would be a fatal blow to Finnish aviation know-how. Most of the flying schools at Malmi Airport would in practice have to close down, as there is no sufficient client base for them on any other airport in Finland. Judging the matter with their long experience, the flying schools and other aviation businesses of Malmi Airport have made this clear in their official statements. 1.1 million people live in the capital region, whereas in e.g. Tampere region there are 360.000 people and in Turku region 300.000 people. A more than 65% reduction in the customer base is enough to destroy any company.

In addition to destroying the finest old aviation milieu in Finland, forcing the activities to move far away would be a fatal blow to pilot education in the capital region where a substantial number of potential aviators live. In addition to the commercial flying schools, the aviation clubs operating at Helsinki-Malmi offer relatively inexpensive private pilot’s licence training, while the Airport is easily accessible to anyone in the capital region. Voluntary maintenance work keeps the aircraft of these clubs airworthy. With the loss of Malmi Airport, the distances and costs increasing to an unreasonable level would make general aviation wither away from the most populous area in the country.