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Swedavia appeals conditions of new environmental permit

2013-12-18, kl. 14:44

On November 27, the Land and Environmental Court announced its decision on a new environmental permit for Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The new permit could mean limits to the airport’s potential for development. To ensure that Sweden continues to have opportunities for national and international exchanges, Swedavia has decided to appeal ten of the total 36 conditions in the new permit.

Air travel today is an important prerequisite for international exchanges, both economic and social. Stockholm Arlanda Airport is Sweden’s hub for this air traffic, and each year 20 million passengers travel via the airport. With some 170 destinations available, passengers can travel within Europe and beyond in an efficient manner and thus continue to develop the country’s competitiveness and attractiveness.

The new environmental permit issued to the airport means that capacity there may be limited. Swedavia has therefore now decided to appeal ten conditions in the environmental permit to the Land and Environmental Court.

“The environmental permit creates good potential for us to continue together with others to reduce fossil carbon dioxide emissions. But at the same time, this access is in jeopardy, which leads to unreasonable consequences for Sweden’s competitiveness and attractiveness,” says Torborg Chetkovich, chief executive of Swedavia.

One of the conditions being appealed is the regulation stipulating that curved approaches to Runway 3 are to be used for up to 84 take-offs and landings per hour. In practice, Runway 3 is used when the number of take-offs and landings per hour exceeds 56.

The method for curved approaches has already been developed but can so far only be used by a few aircraft when traffic is very limited. So this is not a method that is practically applicable when there is a take-off or landing every minute at the airport. There is agreement on this issue among both Swedish and international experts. The condition thus means there is a risk that the airport may not be able to meet the demand for air traffic in the morning and afternoon when most people choose to fly.

“Based on what traffic looks like today, the restriction that this condition entails could mean that Stockholm Arlanda’s capacity will be reduced by almost 40 per cent. It is also our aim to develop the airport and strengthen connections with the rest of the world, which means that the consequences would probably be even greater,” says Kjell-Åke Westin, airport director at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

In addition to the condition on approach routes, Swedavia is appealing a number of conditions concerning noise insulation and flight paths, for which the court has set more stringent limits than what applies for aviation noise according to the standard values set by the local community.