Proposal for new airport in Porvoo to replace Malmi facility
Light planes and low-fare flights possible from proposed area
A new airport to replace Malmi Airport in Helsinki could go up in Porvoo, about 50 kilometres from the centre of Helsinki. The Malmi airport in the north of Helsinki is mainly used by light aircraft, and there have been calls in recent years to shut it down and use the land for housing development.
A study conducted by Finavia, Finland's Civil Aviation Administration, found that the Backas area in Porvoo would be the most appropriate location for a new airport. The area, now agricultural land, is a 50-minute drive from the centre of Helsinki, and 20 minutes from the Kehä III ring road.
Development of Malmi Airport has not been ruled out, but the report finds that this would require the construction of a new runway and the demolition of one residential area, and part of an industrial area.
Upgrading the Malmi Airport would cost an estimated EUR 170 million, while a new airport could be set up in Backas for EUR 126 million.
Construction costs at Malmi would be much lower than in Backas, but acquiring the land needed for the project would be much higher in Helsinki.
The Friends of Malmi Airport association sees some positive sides in the report, even though Backas comes out as the option that is easier to implement.
The association's chairman Tero Auranen says that the report shows that the state wants a second airport in addition to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, which currently handles all commercial traffic to and from Finland. "So the idea is not that the Malmi Airport would simply be shut down. That is positive", Auranen says.
However, he is not satisfied with the findings. "We hope that Malmi would stay in the future plans in a way that would not require quite as much economic input.
The report also examined the issue of the heliport that operates at Malmi. If regular airport activities in Malmi close down, the options will be scaling back aviation activities to helicopter flights, or the construction of a completely new location in Sipoo.
Turning Malmi into a heliport would cost an estimated EUR 14 million, and building a new one in Sipoo would cost EUR 18 million.
Planning and building a new airport would probably take at least ten years.
In addition to serving small private planes, the plan is for the new airport to take some of the passenger services now using Helsinki-Vantaa International.
Porvoo Mayor Marcus Henricson is enthusiastic about the idea of getting an airport within city limits.
"This is not just a question of moving the activities of Malmi Airport to another place. There are moves for a real second airport for Helsinki, which could be used for low-fare travel and air freight, for instance", he emphasises.
"If we were to play with the idea that Ryanair were to fly from Porvoo instead of Tampere, it would be a really big thing for us", Henricson notes.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Helsinki Malmi Airport included in World Monuments Watch preservation list (25.9.2003)
Court finds Helsinki Mayor had conflict of interest on Malmi Airport plan (8.11.2006)
Helsinki to evict planes from Malmi Airport (9.12.2004)
Finavia - Helsinki-Malmi Airport
Friends of Malmi Airport press release Aug 16: Malmi Airport could remain in its present shape