The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly reduced the workload on airports in Siberia: their passenger traffic dropped by 30% to 50%. At the same time, the existing potential encourages upgrades and plans to build new airports as domestic tourism gains momentum.
Airports built, renovated
The inrush of tourists to the Siberian ski resort Sheregesh during the New Year public holidays revived the plans to build an airport nearby. At present, tourists have to take a long drive from Novokuznetsk Airport to get to Sheregesh.
The Kemerovo region government has decided to breathe new life into the project designed by the Novaport Holding. The regional Transport Ministry said that it was looking for the investor.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Sheregesh development strategy aims to launch its year-round operation and achieve a three-fold increase in the flow of tourists to 3.4 million people per season by the year 2035.
A new terminal was built in A.Leonov Kemerovo airport which is a part of the Novaport group of companies. The Kemerovo region government press service reported that the capacity had more than doubled, from 200 to 460 passengers per hour. It took a year to complete the new terminal project.
"There are more passenger screening lines at the entrance, check-in desks and security control offices in the new terminal. The public area also expanded to make people more comfortable and accommodate trade and catering outlets," said a representative of the regional administration.
Kemerovo region governor Sergey Tsivilev who attended the airport opening ceremony said that the project had been changed a few times to make it more passenger friendly, but this increased construction costs. The investments totaled 5 bln rubles ($68.1 mln, Novaport Holding beneficiary Roman Trotsenko) said. Previously, the investments were estimated at 3.3 bln rubles ($44.95 mln).
Novaport expanding in Siberia
Novosibirsk Tolmachevo airport is key to Novaport. It serves as a hub as every fourth passenger arrives in Novosibirsk to board an internal or international flight, said Evgeny Yankilevich, Tolmachevo airport CEO and head of the Novaport Holding Siberian branch.
To increase Tolmachevo’s capacity, Novaport will renovate Runway 1 and Runway 2. The first project will cost 24 bln rubles ($326.88 mln.) A total of 10.4 bln rubles ($141.65 mln) of this sum will be spent for the first phase of construction. The second runway will also be upgraded in two stages: federal budget allocations make up 3.6 bln rubles ($49.03 mln) for the first and 5.4 billion rubles ($73.55 mln) for the second.
The project documentation will be completed by the end of 2021. The Federal Air Transport Agency approved the general plan to develop the airport.
The international passenger traffic in Tolmachevo is expected to significantly rise due to the resumption of air links with the former Soviet republics. The airport serviced Central Asia labor force arriving in the Urals and the Far East. Entry permission for migrant workers will improve Tolmachevo’s financial position.
Russian Post will launch a logistic center at the airport. It will generate more traffic on the Irtysh R-254 highway to 30,000 cars per day from the current 2,000-6,000. The section of the road from the airport towards Omsk is a heavily overloaded accident blackspot, said Dmitry Baturin, first deputy head of “Siberia,” the federal highway administration. Resurfacing costs for the 20-kilometer Irtysh R-254 highway stretch adjoining Tolmachevo are estimated at 19 bln rubles ($258.78 mln.) Three road junctions and a bridge across the river Chik will be built there as part of road upgrade. Preliminary works are due to begin by the end of this year. The upgraded Irtysh R-254 highway will be able to meet federal requirements for first category roads. The number of lanes on the highway will be increased to six.
Tomsk airport runway renovation, due to start by early June, costs 700 mln rubles ($9.53 mln). Tomsk region deputy governor for industrial policy Igor Shaturny told wek.ru about the plans to step up the ongoing construction of infrastructure facilities such as emergency rescue station, corporate checkpoint and sewage treatment plants.
Ilya Zotov, chairman of the All-Russian Passengers Association, wrote on his Facebook page that German Titov Barnaul Airport might become the base airport for a lowcoster proposed by S7 Group.
In this case, Barnaul airport stock valuation has to take place this year to privatize the part belonging to the Altai Territory, regional Transport Minister Alexander Dementiev said. Altaikraiimushchestvo owns a 52% percent stake, while 48% belong to Novaport whose share is expected to increase to 75% minus one share.
In mid-May, Krasavia Airlines began new flights from Krasnoyarsk to Abakan, Kyzyl and Gorno-Altaisk using ATR 72-500 and ATR 42-500 planes, Krasnoyarsk territory Transport Minister Konstantin Dimitrov wrote on Instagram.
Meanwhile, Krasnoyarsk Airport launched a service where dogs help people overcome aerophobia. Trainers walk their “Emotional Support Dogs,” to use the western term, through the hall in the secure zone on the third floor of the airport twice a month from 10 to 11 a.m. local time. Everyone is welcome to come up and interact with the animals to get positive emotions. The animals are provided by the Povodog shelter.
Finally, Kyzyl Airport in the capital of Tuva will operate an international terminal as early as this year. It has already got international status and only needs to activate it.
Kyzyl Airport cooperates with three Russian airlines that connect Tuva with Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Abakan. Tuva Air, which flies within the republic, is the core airline there.