Malmi Airport Association was established on 1 September 2016 to promote general aviation in Helsinki and to carry out its mission to continue operations at Helsinki-Malmi Airport from 1 January 2017 when Finavia Ltd left the airport.
The preliminary work of the association began in April 2016. Negotiations took place through the summer and early autumn with the City of Helsinki, Finavia, Trafi and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre). The discussions revealed that some inquiries to extend the operations at Helsinki-Malmi Airport had been made, but had not not gone further. As the year 2016 progressed, it became more and more evident that Finavia would actually be leaving Helsinki-Malmi Airport on 31 December 2016.
On June 30, 2016, the Association submitted a proposal to the City of Helsinki for the provisory aviation use of Malmi Airport. The plan was based on Trafi’s safety assessment of the continuation of Helsinki-Malmi’s operations as an uncontrolled aerodrome. The aim was to keep the operating methods and cost level for end-users as close to previous ones as possible.
The content of the final land lease contract was significantly influenced by the goals set by the City of Helsinki. As negotiations progressed, it became clear that the city would be renting Hangar 1, planned for aircraft maintenance and repairs, only to event use, possibly within a transitional period of a few months.
At the same time, with the land lease negotiations, the association conducted extensive negotiations regarding, among other things, the environmental permit, the aerodrome permit and operating procedures. Its negotiating partners were the ELY Centre, the Transport Safety Agency Trafi, Finavia, City of Helsinki Environment Center and Malmi Airport’s users. As a result of the negotiations, the aerodrome’s operating instructions and an environmental permit application to the City of Helsinki were accomplished. Negotiations were also held regarding the transfer of the airport’s technical systems to the association.
As the status of Helsinki-Malmi Airport was changing from an airport to an uncontrolled aerodrome, the competent environmental authority was also changing. Helsinki-Malmi Airport had an environmental permit issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency (formerly Western Finland Environmental Permit Authority). The new supervisory authority would be the City of Helsinki Environment Center (as of 1 June 2017, Helsinki City Urban Environment Division’s Environmental Services). As a result of extensive negotiations, it was found that there wasn’t enough time for a municipal environmental permit to be granted to the association before the start of operations. Therefore, Malmi Airfield Association informed the ELY Centre in December 2016 that it would take on the responsibilities stated in the environmental permit issued to Finavia as such. Later, after the operation had already started, the supervision of compliance with the environmental permit was transferred to the City of Helsinki.
During the autumn of 2016, information about the activities of the association and the progress of the negotiations was give at the autumn meeting, a press conference, and via the website and Facebook.
The membership of the Association developed during 2016 as follows:
1.9.2016 18 members
1.1.2017 353 members
31.12.2017 710 members
The early timeline of the association
25 Apr 2016 First telephone conversations with City of Helsinki, Trafi and Finavia, charting the possibilities for continuing operations.
13 Jun 2016 Press conference of the City of Helsinki and Finavia for entrepreneurs leasing business premises at Malmi Airport, telling about the end of Finavia’s operations at Malmi.
1 Jul 2016 First meeting with Finavia to coordinate flight operations.
23 Aug 2016 First meeting with the City of Helsinki.
Before this, only telephone conversations were had. After the meeting, negotiations continue actively on an almost daily basis. The topics of the discussions were the extent of the area reserved for the operation, reaching an agreement about the use of the area, as well as an agreement on rent for land and premises.
28 Aug 2016 The association’s rules are being negotiated, with the working name EFHF ry for the association. Representatives of Malmi Aviation Club, Mäntsälä Aviation Club and Light Aviation Association are involved.
1 Sep 2016 Malmi Airport Association is founded by 18 founding members.
19 Sep 2015 The first website of the association is opened at efhfry.datalatu.fi to start membership recruitment.
21 Sep 2016 Joint negotiation with Trafi and the City of Helsinki.
22 Sep 2016 The revised website of the association is published at www.efhfry.fi.
26 Sep 2016 The association’s autumn meeting at the Finnish Aviation Museum
30 Sep 2016 The association presents a proposal to the City of Helsinki for the provisory use of Malmi Airport’s area.
29 Oct 2016 Survey of Malmi’s aviation operators’ aircraft by the Association in order to clarify the income structure, required storage space and types of fuel. 96 replies were received in just a few days.
3 Dec 2016 Malmi’s terminal building hosts the association’s press conference where the operating methods and charges starting 1 January 2017 are presented.
19 Dec 2016 Malmi Airport Association notifies the ELY Centre about the change of the environmental permit holder of Helsinki-Malmi Airport.
21 Dec 2016 The land lease agreement between the association and the city is signed.
23 Dec 2016 The application for a permit to operate an airfield is supplemented.
27 Dec 2016 Agreement with Finavia about transferring the runway lights, taxi lights, PAPI lights, approach lights and signboards used by Finavia to Malmi Airport Association.
28 Dec 2016 Outlines of the field officer’s duties, maintenance and PPR system. Preparations for the transfer of equipment from Finavia to the association.
29 Dec 2016 Trafi grants the association permission to operate the aerodrome.
30 Dec 2016 The duty officer’s phone number is activated
1 Jan 2017 The association has 353 members. The operating procedures are published. Aerodrome operations start within the planned time frame.
3 Jan 2017 The lease of the control tower is signed with the City of Helsinki, and an agreement is made with Finavia about handing over associated equipment to the association.
Transfer of airport equipment to Malmi Airfield Association
At the turn of the year, the association signed a lease of the air traffic control tower with the city of Helsinki. The association received from various organizations donated equipment, some of which still serve the duty officer as tools.
Malmi’s control tower was taken to use 3 Jan 2017. The Airfield Association refurbished the desk panels in January 2017.
Lighting and radio systems
At the turn of the year, the lighting systems, signs and some radio equipment were transferred from Finavia to the Airfield Association. Finavia took care of dismantling lights and ground equipment, and the dismantled parts were handed over to Malmi Airfield Association as spares.
Changes and Reforms
ATIS transmission was suspended when Finavia and the Finnish Meteorological Institute ceased providing a weather service to the Border Guard at the beginning of March 2017. In this context, the transmitting station located at Sepeteuksentie was dismantled and the transmitting equipment was transferred to the Airport Association. The measures were coordinated in close cooperation with Finavia and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Malmi Airfield Association received ATIS and radio transmitters from Finavia. The METAR provided by the Finnish Meteorological Institute was changed to AWS-METAR in conjunction with the same changes, and the old ARWO system feeding data to the ATIS workstation was no longer available for the association’s needs. Volunteer activists of the association hacked the data link between the ARWO and ATIS workstations and created a software that emulates the ARWO system and feeds the required data to the ATIS workstation.
Transmitters located at the dismantled transmitter station on Sepeteuksentie had to be relocated. After assessments, new locations were found for the transmitters. The new ATIS transmission was initially piloted on 5 April 2017 with a low output power of 15 mW, and after a couple of days the transmission was once again fully operational.
Asphalting of taxiway W
The agreement between the Airport Association of Malmi and the City of Helsinki included a clause stating that the narrow-track taxiway W was to be asphalted by the association. On the basis of the invitations to tender, Star-Asfaltti Ltd was selected for the job and completed the work on 24 May 2017. The new taxiway got its centerline slightly later, 3 September 2017.
Autumn work party
Voluntary work parties were held on two days: 26 August 2017 and 3 September 2017. On the first day, the metal-frame crosses at the ends of the decommissioned runway were painted on the surface, and vegetation was weeded around the taxiway and runway lights. On the second day, the centerline of taxiway W and other taxiway markings were painted.
Winter maintenance was handled during the winter 2016-2017 by Malmin Lumikone Ltd. In the winter season 2017-2018, snowblower services were also procured from Maste Ltd.
In addition, the summer mowing work was carried out by an external company, Georg Stjernberg.
Broken taxiway and runway lights were replaced by the association’s volunteers. More demanding high voltage installation work and replacing windsock lightbulbs were carried out by an outside company.
Helsinki-Malmi is a general aviation aerodrome where pre-authorization is required for aircraft operating (PPR, prior permission required). Every day from 7am to 10pm an airfield duty officer is present and in charge of granting and monitoring prior authorizations. The duty officer communicates with the aircraft and ensures on his part the realization of aviation safety at Helsinki-Malmi aerodrome. The aerodrome’s operating permit and Aviation Regulation AGA M1-1 require that a person with a restricted radio operator’s license is present at the airport after dark when the airport is open.
On January 1, 2017, the duty officers began approving PPR requests manually over the phone. Initially, the PPR system was based on Google Sheets. The system has been developed automatically during 2017. The association’s own volunteer-developed PPR system was completed in July 2017. The domestic HelpostiLasku billing system was linked to it. After that, the system has been developed further as needed.
Voluntary duty officers were on the roster as follows:
1 Jan 2017 3 31 Jan 2017 17
28 Feb 2017 22 31 Mar 2017 30
30 Apr 2017 32 31 May 2017 36
30 Jun 2017 35 31 Jul 2017 35
31 Aug 2017 37 30 Sep 2017 42
31 Oct 2017 29 30 Nov 2017 42
31 Dec 2017 43
On an aerodrome the size of Malmi, the need for someone to be constantly present is considerable. Several inquiries are made daily, especially by aviators. Questions that are unrelated to aviation or more complicated are usually referred to the chairman of the association or the airport chief. The most important contact channels are the duty officer’s telephone 020 7545 129 and the so-called “operations email” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the large number of duty officers, most of the on-call responsibilities piled up on a small core team. An attempt to alleviate the problem was made by recruiting new duty officers, spreading information and by duty officer get-togethers.
As of January 1, 2017, Gun Gustavsson has been the airport chief.
Aircraft storage facilities
Already in the fall of 2016 it became clear that the City of Helsinki would rent Aircraft Hall 1 only for event use after a short transition period. In December 2016, the Association submitted a bid to the City of Helsinki for the rental of Aircraft Hall 1. The City of Helsinki rented the hangar to Aeropole Ltd, BF-Lento Ltd and Joen Service Ltd. Leases were initially signed until 31 May. The rental period was extended until 31 August 2017.
The City of Helsinki organized a tender for the former Patria aircraft hangar. The Airfield Association made an offer to the City for the hangar. The winning offer was made by Aeropole Ltd.
On May 17, 2017, Malmi Airfield Association renewed its offer to rent Aircraft Hangar 1 in its entirety from the City of Helsinki at the same price at which the hangar was rented to its tenants at that time. The city rejected the association’s offer.
From the point of view of individual aviators and aviation organizations, the lack of aircraft storage space is the greatest uncertainty factor in the airfield’s operation.
Operations in 2017
An expected number of flight operations were logged in 2017 at Malmi. The partial shift of the State’s operations (Patria Pilot Training Ltd and the Border Guard) from Malmi to Tampere-Pirkkala and Helsinki-Vantaa decreased the number of operations as expected from the previous year.
On the basis of the negotiations with Trafi, the maximum number of aircraft flying simultaneously in the circuit was limited to two. This was accomplished with an online booking calendar, where pilots can independently make landing circuit slot reservations in blocks of 15 minutes. In order to keep the use of the calendar under control, a five-euro landing circuit fee or slot charge was also introduced.
The restriction on the number of aircraft flying in circuit simultaneously as well as the introduction of the slot charge decreased the number of touch-and-go landings considerably as compared to the previous year.
Total (ICAO *)
* In the calculation method of ICAO, a touch-and-go is counted as two operations.
The Board of the association
Members of the Board of Malmi Airfield Association as of 1 September 2016 were:
Niko Lamberg (Chairman)
Kalle Reunanen (Vice Chairman)
On 1 January 2017 Kalle Reunanen confirmed, as he had announced already at the autumn meeting, that he would leave the Board. Ville Repo took over as Vice Chairman from the beginning of 2017.
The Board of Malmi Airfield Association met as follows:
1 Sep 2016 – 31 Dec 2016 10 times
1 Jan 2017 – 31 Dec 2017 7 times
Total 1 Sep 2016 – 31 Dec 2017 17 times
At the autumn meeting on 16 November 2017, the following persons were elected to the Board for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2018:
Niko Lamberg (Chairman)
The preliminary design of the business model was begun before the establishment of the association. The starting situation had countless open questions, many variables and uncertainty. On the other side, some items of expenditure were identified, but the new operating environment, with its requirements and related costs, was still completely unspecified. From the outset, however, it seemed clear that the land lease would clearly be the most significant single item of expenditure. The first concrete step towards the realization of a business plan was selecting a registered association as the administrative model.
A special feature of drawing up the first year’s budget was that there was no precedent of airport operation under similar circumstances. Based on a few cash flow calculations using different parameters it seemed that the potential turnover would be around 250,000 euros a year. In each model, the turnover consisted mainly of membership fees, season card fees and user charges. The idea of the business model was to encourage airfield users to join as a member and aircraft owners to get a season card for their aircraft, thus receiving a premium on user fees. The cash flow statement provided the basis for assessing the financial resources of the association to act as an airport operator.
Based on the preliminary discussions, the association had to prepare to pay the market price for the area it was to lease. The indicative figure, however, was not initially available since the total area of the land to be leased was unspecified and the rents of lands leased for the same or similar use differed considerably. On the basis of preliminary studies, however, it seemed that the resources of the association would be sufficient to lease at market price an area of around 40 hectares, which in turn would be sufficiently large for airport operations under AGA M1-1.
At the same time, the association was negotiating with the authorities and Finavia Ltd on the boundary conditions that the association should fulfill in its operation. As these negotiations progressed, the aim was to clarify the level of service that the association should produce. This was done to bracket the operating and management costs. At the same time, the association requested bids for supporting airport operations such as winter maintenance. Although the cost structure began to get clearer as the plans were refined, it was decided to include a 10% safety margin on the expenditure side of the budget.
During the autumn of 2016, the association also negotiated for the rental of hangar storage, but these negotiations did not lead to an agreement.
During the first fiscal year, the association paid a total of 46,000 euros in guarantees for the land rent.
Before the transition to the 2017 billing system was completed, the operation was initiated by temporary arrangements. The delay in deploying the system meant that the billing and the accounts ledger for the first part of the year were take care of manually, thus increasing the workload and delaying billing.
In February 2017 an Yhdistysavain Membership Register was introduced, contributing to the automation of membership fee billing and keeping accounts. The same system was also used for other billing until the summer when the automatic PPR system was introduced and connected to a new billing and sales account system. With the introduction of the automated system, the association’s billing has been streamlined and accelerated to a very good level. Billing and accounts are now up to date, and invoices are sent to the airport users every month. All sales for the fiscal year 2017 have been invoiced and recorded as income for the fiscal year that ended on December 31, 2017.
The number of members estimated in the budget was achieved in the second quarter, and expected season card sales in the first quarter, both slightly earlier than planned. In the first quarter, operating fees were slightly below planned, but the total turnover was about 5% higher than planned due to the slightly larger-than-planned number of members and the better-than-expected season card sales. In the autumn of 2017, the association decided to significantly reduce season card prices.
As a whole, the first year of operations went well. Net sales developed accurately in budget terms and operating expenses proved to be slightly smaller than planned. During the first financial year the association had a stable cash flow. At the end of the first fiscal year, the association is debt-free and has good liquidity.
Requested support and grants
During the fiscal year, grants were requested from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the National Board of Antiquities and the Ministry of Education and Culture. None were obtained, though.
In June 2017, the association applied for salary support from the Employment and Economic Development Centre for the recruitment of one employee, but it was not granted due to the budget for such grants being depleted.
Malmin lentokenttäyhdistys ry / Malmi Airfield Association