The city of Moss and surrounding municipalities south of Oslo are lobbying for the same kind of funding from the state that Western Norway is getting, to tackle rising unemployment. Top politicians say the extension of any “crisis package” is unlikely.
The pending closure of Moss’ Rygge Airport this fall poses the loss of hundreds of jobs in a city where unemployment is already as high as it is in Stavanger, which has lost jobs since oil prices began to fall. Local mayors think it’s only fair that their unemployment problems get as much attention as those out west.
They want funding, for example, to maintain the airport after it closes, in case new airlines can be attracted. They also want more funding for local NAV welfare offices to help address unemployment, and a transfer of more state jobs to the area (specifically establishment of a railroad directorate and an administration center for the new police district). In addition they think the state police academy should be moved from Oslo to Moss, where police could use the airport as a training center, and they want the military to keep operating runways at Rygge.
State officials have responded that the government already is looking into alternatives for the airport, while those running Rygge Airport have also been criticized for becoming far too dependent on Ryanair, which decided to shut its base at Rygge last month in favour of more flights from Torp at Sandefjord and, for the first time, from Oslo, where growth potential is the greatest.