On Tuesday, the government of the central Swedish city of Västerås announced the closure of their local airport. The decision was made through a consensus between three political parties: the Social Democrats, Liberals, and the Environment Party. All parties agreed that the deficits and government funds going to the airport were too much.
Translated into English, this is what was said earlier this week at the parties’ joint press conference:
“We have come to the end with the contributions the city makes to the airport, we need to tear off this patch,” – Anders Teljebäck, Chairman of the local council
Unfortunately, the decision to close the airport came as nearly a complete surprise to the airport’s CEO, Tezz Tordsdotter Åkerman. Åkerman says she learned about the press conference ten minutes before. However, she admits that the decision isn’t a complete surprise, especially when looking back at the years of debate over the value of the airport.
Financially not feasible
The local council came to the conclusion that the larger economy is expected to become tougher in the future. Furthermore, projections and forecasts for the airport indicate that costs will rise in the years to come.
The company that operates the airport also says that they have done what they could to lower the sizeable deficits. The airport company’s CEO, Tezz Tordsdotter Åkerman, says that it has succeeded in reducing costs since 2016. However, the company still finds itself in a deficit of 23 million SEK, which equates to US$2.35 million.
According to SVT Nyheter, the airport has been in deficit for several years already. For 2019, the goal was to lose no more than 20 million SEK (US$2.05 million), a goal that was missed by three million Swedish Krona (US$310,000).
“We cannot continue to subsidize flights in the midst of a fiery climate crisis, which would not only be wrong but also irresponsible.” – Markus Lindgren, MP
A Ryanair airport
The airport’s main ‘customer’ is low-cost carrier Ryanair. The airline actually only has one regular service from Västerås, which is to London Stansted. This destination is served four times per week. In addition to this, Ryanair offers seasonal service from Västerås to the holiday hotspots of Alicante and Málaga.
Marketed as a cheap alternative to flying from Stockholm’s main airport – Arlanda, it takes around 80 minutes to get to Västerås from Stockholm Central Station. This is done using a coach bus service.
Now that the decision has been made to shut the airport down, the next questions are ‘how’ and ‘when’. The details have yet to be worked out but it seems like the decision has popular support. Given the current global situation, we can’t help but agree that it’s probably a sound move – at least for now.
Have you ever flown to or from this airport? Do you think it should stay open? Let us know in the comments.
Simple Flying contacted Ryanair with a request for an official response. However, at the time of publishing this article, we have yet to hear back from the airline.