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Stockholm Bromma Airport (Photo: Swedavia Airports)

Stockholm Bromma Airport Set To Permanently Shut Down

The Covid-19 pandemic that has devastated air travel demand around the world is about to see yet another victim. The Swedish government has announced its intention to permanently shut down Stockholm Bromma Airport — operating under the code BMA — one of the two airports serving Sweden’s capital metropolitan area and the one closest to the city center.

Opened in 1936 and located only seven kilometers from the heart of Stockholm, Bromma Airport serves mainly domestic destinations and in 2019 it handled more than 2.5 million passengers, making it the third biggest airport in the country. Passenger numbers plummeted to less than 500,000 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as they did at other airports around Sweden and the rest of the world.

Traffic collapsed even more in 2021. During the month of March, only 6,000 passed through its terminal, a 97% reduction compared to 2019, Airways Magazine reports.

Most of the commercial air traffic in and out of Stockholm is handled by Arlanda International Airport, approximately 37 kilometers north of the city. Arlanda handled over 25 million passengers in 2019, with traffic dropping to just over 6.5 million in 2020.

A Controversial Decision

The decision to close Bromma Airport has been met with contrasting reactions by the various political parties in Sweden. Local authorities are afraid the closure of the airport is going to damage businesses in the area since Arlanda is more than a 30-minute drive away.

The original plan was to maintain Bromma operational until at least 2038 when Arlanda is supposed to have a fourth runway built and could easily absorb all the traffic currently handled by Bromma. But an impact assessment commissioned in 2020 by Swedavia, the state-owned company owning and operating the main airports in Sweden, determined that maintaining Bromma open “can no longer be economically justified.”

On the other hand, environmental groups are in favor of this initiative as they see commercial aviation as a potential threat to their ambitious target to make Sweden carbon-neutral by 2045. The phenomenon of flygskam, or “flight shame,” has been blamed in Sweden for a 5% drop in air traffic in the country in 2019 compared to the previous year, with an even bigger drop for domestic flights, which are now being replaced by long-distance trains.

The conservative opposition to the Moderate Party said that if they win the next election, they will work to continue operating the airport for at least another 10 years, Forbes reports, requesting to see expansion work at Arlanda ongoing before a discussion on Bromma’s closure can even be entertained.

The government would like to redevelop the 400 acres currently occupied by Bromma Airport into residential housing on the premium real estate close to the business center of Stockholm.

There are at least two more airports that are formally considered to be part of the Stockholm Airport system: Vasteras Airport to the west and Skavsta to the southwest, but both of them are more than 100 kilometers away and they are served mainly by low-cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air.

Vanni Gibertini
Vanni Gibertini
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