In 1924 AB Aerotransport (ABA) − a forerunner of today’s Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) − began to provide service on the Malmö–Hamburg (Germany) route using one-engine Junkers F13 aircraft seating four. Service was expanded in the following year to Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Gothenburg. ABA’s leading position strengthened when it became the first airline to use the Junkers G23, a three-engine metal aircraft. In 1926 Bulltofta handled nearly 2,000 take-offs and landings and 6,000 passengers, which was 30 percent more than Stockholm.
Expansion continued throughout the 1920s, with nightly postal flights to Stockholm, Amsterdam and London (UK). A postal sorting agent went along on the flights, which are believed to have been the first flying postal sorting offices.
By the early 1930s passenger service had expanded to Berlin (Germany), Paris (France) and London. Other airlines such as Air France, KLM and the Danish-based DDL also served Bulltofta. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the airport was handling some forty flights per day.
During the 1940s a new terminal opened (1943), although the number of passengers decreased during the period 1939–1945 SAS was established in 1946 through a merger of ABA, DDL and Norway’s DNL. At the same time, it was decided that the new airline’s main base would be at nearby Kastrup (now Copenhagen Airport, Denmark). This led to a decline in air traffic at Bulltofta.
During the 1950s the authorities decided to build a 1,900 metre long paved runway at Bulltofta, which was completed in 1953. Air traffic gradually increased, and in 1959 a new terminal opened.
During the 1960s, Kastrup grew into a hub for most Scandinavian long-haul routes, while charter tour operators increasingly focused on Copenhagen. In 1964, Bulltofta handled 90,000 passengers a year. During the 1960s the authorities commissioned studies to determine a more suitable location for an airport that would not create as much noise in Malmö.
In 1968 a decision was made to select Sturup, east of Malmö, as the location of the airport. In 1970, runway construction began and the following year the airport building was constructed. Right from the start, there were plans for possible future expansion − not only such resources as terminals, cargo warehouses, aircraft aprons, hangars and car parks but also an additional runway.
In 2006 Malmö Airport terminal was renovated. The walls between the domestic and international terminal were removed. In this way capacity for receiving passengers was increased. The terminal is capable of handling between three and half and four million passengers yearly.
Passengers previously occupied two different areas, depending on whether they were going to travel domestically or internationally. The reason for the division was regulations that specified what categories of passengers were allow to share the same space at an airport. Nowadays Swedish Customs and the Police work from mobile units. In cases where European Union rules say that passengers arriving from countries outside the EU may not mix with outbound passengers, there is now a glassed-in passageway with a passport control point for arriving passengers before the baggage hall at the airport.
Today Malmö Airport is an important transport hub to and from the fast-growing Öresund region and serves as the Swedish gateway to this region. The airport is operated by Swedavia AB which is a state-owned limited company.