Russia eyes additional airports for low-cost carriers
The Russian government is considering Ramenskoye Airfield and Yermolino Airport as possible airports for low-cost carriers (LCC) in the Kaluga region, Kommersant newspaper has reported. The new locations are necessary as Moscow’s three existing airports—Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo—will not be able to handle expected high levels of passenger growth. In addition, Aeroflot and UTair have disclosed their plans to launch an LCC subsidiary, which will increase the number of passengers in Moscow. Kommersant said Aeroflot plans to base its LCC at Domodedovo airport while UTair has chosen Yermolino. According to UTair CEO Andrey Martirosov, even if capacity reduces at Moscow’s existing airports, they will reach their peak capacity in a couple of years. During the first seven months of 2013, passenger numbers have grown 14.9% to 56.361 million. Martirosov added that with minimum investments Yermolino could handle six to 10 million passengers per year. Using Ramenskoye as a civil airport has been discussed for a couple of years. It is located 40 km southeast of Moscow near Zhukovsky. It is currently used as a major aircraft testing facility and as a base for Ministry of Emergency Situations. The airfield is a part of Gromov Flight Research Institute and hosts the MAKS Air Show every two years. The main problem facing officials is how to combine the flight-testing aerodrome, which is used for military aircraft, with a civil airport. Moscow’s fourth airport, Bykovo, situated not far from Ramenskoye, handled regional flights during the USSR period. During 1970s and ‘80s, it operated 525-550 flights per day. However, the government does not consider it a new airport for Moscow even though it is situated not far from the city. In 2010, it stopped operations and was turned into a car parking facility for car sales companies.