For Finavia, the permit processes are a part of its everyday environmental work, fulfilling the requirements of legislationand interaction with the sectors it serves. Cooperation with the Defence Forces is also important, because at joint operation airports the parties submit a joint permit application.

According to the Environmental Protection Act that entered into force in 2000 (86/2000 §28) and environmental protection decree (169/2000 §1), an aerodrome must have an environmental permit. According to the law on enforcement of environmental legislation (113/2000 §6), existing operations subject to an environmental permit must be reported to a Centre of Economic Development for inclusion in the environmental protection information system. Airports governed by Finavia and operations of the Finnish military were reported on 28 February 2002.

Environmental centres and Centres for Economic Development have evaluated the needs for new permits. Finavia has been able to agree with authorities on applying for new permits for different airports gradually.

Operations subject to an airport's environmental permit

Airport operations that have the most significant environmental impact include aviation, winter maintenance of the movement area and de-icing and anti-icing treatments of the aircraft.

The most significant impacts of winter maintenance, de-icing and anti-icing are caused by the chemicals in runoff waters.

The most notable local impact of aviation is noise.

Operations subject to the environmental permit include maintenance of runways, taxiways and the apron, storing and usage of the chemicals and fuels used by the party maintaining the airport, operation and maintenance of the maintenance equipment, waste management, fire and rescue services of the movement area, aircraft de-icing and anti-icing of operators and aircraft test operation for maintenance purposes.

Airport operations related to military aviation include military runways and aprons, aircraft maintenance at the aprons and aviation itself.

In regards to aviation, environmental permits include aircraft movement on the movement area and flights departing from the airport and arriving at the vicinity of the airport (CTR), which is controlled by the local air traffic control.

Environmental permit application process

Airport environmental permit processes take years. All in all, the process might take 2–5 years and as long as 10 years from drawing up the permit application to acquiring a permit.

Coordination of environmental permits is the responsible of Finavia’s environmental unit. Permit applications are drawn up in cooperation with the group’s experts and the airport personnel. The application describes current operations of the airport and tries to asses the operation of the airport as long as 25 years in the future. In addition to writing the permit application, writing replies and applying possible changes are part of the services provided by the environmental unit to airports.

Finavia has received environmental permits for 16 airports: Utti, Mariehamn, Tampere-Pirkkala, Helsinki-Malmi, Joensuu, Oulu, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Halli, Ivalo, Kittilä, Kemi-Tornio, Enontekiö, Helsinki Airport, Rovaniemi and Turku. Permit application is still pending for Kokkola-Pietarsaari airport.