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Citizen’s initiative to preserve Malmi Airport heads to Parliament

A citizens' initiative to conserve a light aircraft airport in the Helsinki district of Malmi has received the necessary 50,000 signatures to be considered by Parliament. In 2014, after years of debate and deferment, the City of Helsinki made a decision-in-principle to close the airport after 2020 to use the area for new residential construction. The initiative argues that the exceptionally well-preserved pre-World War II aviation centre is an endangered cultural site.

Malmin lentokentällä järjestettiin juhlalentonäytös lentokentän 80-vuotisjuhlan kunniaksi elokuussa 2016.
An aviation show was arranged at the Malmi Airport this year to celebrate its 80th anniversary. Image: Berislav Jurišić / Yle

A bid to save the Malmi Airport from closure to make way for development was revived on Monday when a citizens' initiative known as Lex Malmi passed the required 50,000-signature mark to be heard by Parliament. The initiative seeks a law from Parliament that would guarantee that the airport would be conserved for general aviation and flight training.

Defenders of the airport, which largely serves light aircraft enthusiasts, say it is historically significant. Completed in 1938, the terminal building designed by architects Dag Englund and Vera Rosendahl is considered a prime example of functionalist architecture.

However, the City of Helsinki has already zoned the area for residential construction and the state has withdrawn its support for the airport.

The Malmi airport is still actively used. It is the second busiest airport in Finland, as measured by the number of landings. It is estimated that two-thirds of professional pilots in Finland have trained there. The Finnish Border Guard is also an important user of the facility.

On 16 March 2016, Europe's leading cultural heritage organisation Europa Nostra selected Malmi Airport as one of the seven most endangered cultural heritage sites in Europe.

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