Decisions by government to withdraw from Malmi Airport legal and final
The Ministry of Transport and Communications' work concerning the status of the Helsinki-Malmi Airport has now come to an end. According to decisions made in 2014, the government shall withdraw its operations from the Helsinki-Malmi Airport by the end of 2016.
In January 2015, the Ministry of Transport and Communications responded to the Chancellor of Justice's request for a report on the preparation of the decision to shut down the Helsinki-Malmi Airport. According to the complaint submitted to the Chancellor of Justice, the government's spending limits decision was made without the relevant and appropriate information and was prepared on the basis of erroneous reasoning. In September 2015, the Chancellor of Justice found that the decision by the government to withdraw from the airport area was not made on the basis of lacking or erroneous information.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has examined the status of the Helsinki-Malmi Airport on numerous occasions in recent years. The uncertainty concerning continued operations at Helsinki-Malmi has been considered and discussed for many years. From 2000, numerous reports have been drawn up on alternatives for the Helsinki-Malmi Airport and on the possible placement of general aviation operations.
The objective has been to improve the Helsinki area's functionality and competitiveness, increase the area's housing production and improve the conditions for this. On 3 April 2014, the government decided on its public finances plan for 2015-2018. The plan states that the Malmi Airport area will be used for housing and that the government's operations at the airport will be terminated as quickly as possible, and no later than by the end of 2020.
An agreement between the State and the Helsinki region's municipalities on support for large infrastructure projects and promotion of housing was approved during the Government plenary session on 20 November 2014. The agreement stipulates that the government shall terminate its operations at Malmi Airport by the end of 2016 and no later than by the end of 2020, after which jurisdiction of the area will return to the City of Helsinki.
City of Helsinki responsible for the area's use
The Ministry of Transport and Communications will no longer play a role in the operations of the Helsinki-Malmi Airport. The City of Helsinki will in future decide on the how the area formerly used by the airport will be used. The government has stated that, if the City of Helsinki provides a permit and the necessary safety requirements are met, aviation may continue at the Helsinki-Malmi Airport until construction work or its preparation begins in the area. As the City of Helsinki holds legal ownership of the land area, if there is a desire to continue aviation activities at Helsinki-Malmi, the matter is in the hands of the City of Helsinki and the company that will possibly become the new airport operator.
Finavia has sold the properties it owned in the area to the City of Helsinki, with the condition that Finavia has the right of use to the premises until the end of 2016. If there is a desire to continue aviation operations at Malmi Airport after the transitioning period, Finavia is prepared, if necessary, to offer its services to the future manager of Malmi Airport with commercial terms and conditions. The City of Helsinki favours the use of the area for aviation at least until the end of 2018. The land area is owned by the City of Helsinki, and, from 1 January 2017, it will have full jurisdiction to decide on the use of the area .
Cases related to changes to regional and general plans that would make it possible to build housing in the area now used as Malmi Airport are currently being processed by competent authorities. These procedures will in time determine the future use of the area.
No alternative airport
During 2015, an expert group headed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications has considered where and with what preconditions aviation operations could best be continued after the Malmi Airport is shut down. During the group's work, it has become clear that the group can find no alternative airport or alternative location for an airport that could be assigned the activities and operations of Malmi Airport. The group examined the preconditions and restrictions, as well as operational demands for building a new airport, and drew up a business model for an airport operated with private funding. Finding a business model based on private funding for a new airport is challenging without significant financial assistance from the public sector for initiating the process. An alternative airport would require much greater financial investments than maintaining operations at the current airport. In the present situation, it does not seem possible to use government resources for this sort of investments.
Ms Minna Kivimäki, Director-General, tel. +358 40 754 9871
Mr Risto Murto, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 505 3320