Historic Malmi Airport, close to Finland’s capital Helsinki, is under threat by city planners who want to build houses on the 138-hectare site. Malmi is the capital’s only General Aviation airport and an important part of the country’s aviation infrastructure.
In February, campaigners trying to save the airport presented a legislative initiative to preserve Helsinki-Malmi Airport, to the Speaker of Parliament, Maria Lohela.
The Lex Malmi initiative, signed by more than 56.000 people, proposes the purchase of Malmi Airport from the City of Helsinki by the State of Finland.
The initiative is based on Helsinki-Malmi Airport’s significance to culture and infrastructure which goes beyond municipal interests. Not only is the airport a building of national importance and one of the Seven Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe, but it also plays a central role in the accessibility of provincial regions and of Finland itself.
“There must be a place in the centre of the capital region to serve the rapidly growing general aviation,” said Timo Hyvönen, chairman of the Friends of Malmi Airport.
“All capitals in Western Europe have an airport for non-scheduled traffic. As far as Finland is concerned, Malmi is the only reasonable place for an airport serving propeller-driven aircraft, business jets and helicopters.”
As Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport grows, its potential to serve the rapidly growing unscheduled traffic will deteriorate.
The City of Helsinki has planned a district of about 25,000 inhabitants to be built at Malmi Airport and the surrounding areas.
“Keeping Malmi Airport in operation does not pose a problem to residential construction in the area. Aviation and residential construction are not mutually exclusive. Both are a part of the future of the whole capital region and all of Finland,” said Timo Hyvönen.
Helsinki-Malmi Airport is Helsinki’s international General Aviation airport. It serves pilot training, professional, business and recreational aviation, and offers an extensive range of aviation services from aircraft and helicopter maintenance and repairs to aircraft rental.
Several pilot schools and flying clubs are located at Helsinki-Malmi, and it is among other things the home of Finland’s only aviation scout troop Malmin Tuulenkävijät.
Cushions to the rescue!
Designer Jutta Kuure and her company Taiga Colors has launched a bag and an interior design collection based on photographs she has taken at the airport.
“At first my interest in the airport was purely visual, but the more I found out about the situation of the airport, the crazier it sounded that it would be closed,” said Jutta.
80 years of aviation
Helsinki-Malmi Airport was built in 1936 for the 1940 Olympic Games, cancelled because of WWII.
Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute has selected Helsinki-Malmi Airport as one of Seven Most Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites in Europe. It is recognised internationally by World Monuments Fund and Docomomo International, and has been designated as a Built Cultural Environment of National Significance by the National Board of Antiquities.