Pulkovo Poised to Fight for Carriers

Sergey Vladimirov, 14.05.2014 07:39
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Starting March 27, Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport officially gets a new lease of life: two old terminals were closed, and all flights are now serviced by the new Terminal 1. Its modern facilities let it vie not only for passengers, but for new carriers as well.

Growth of exchange rates against ruble and events in Ukraine have not yet affected the passenger flow of St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport.

According to Pulkovo’s Chief Operations Officer Volker Wendefeuer, during the first quarter of 2014 the airport serviced 15% passengers more than during the same period of 2013.

Moreover, last year the volume of Pulkovo’s passenger flow grew 15%.

This is one of the highest growth rates in the world. Usually, the passenger flow of the airport grows at the rate of 3-5% a year,” said Mr. Wendefeuer.

According to him, many different airlines are interested in the new airport. For instance, this season several air carriers announced that they were going to organize flights from St. Petersburg. The most ‘decorated’ of them is probably Tap Portugal, which will launch its summer flight program to Lisbon on July 2. The Portuguese airline will be organizing 3 flights a week.

Montenegro Airlines will launch weekly flights to Podgorica; Germanwings will organize 6 flights a week to Düsseldorf. Sky Bishkek will connect St. Petersburg and Osh, and Moskovia Airlines will service 2 flights a week between St. Petersburg and Astrakhan.

Also, a number of carriers will up the frequency of their flights, for instance Air Berlin will organize flights to Berlin more often, Koreant Air – to Seoul, and Vueling Airlines – to Barcelona.

European low cost airlines, which have recently entered St. Petersburg’s market, will be offered the same conditions as everyone else, with no reduced service charges. Also, the negotiations on the Russian airline Dobrolet making its debut on St. Petersburg’s market will continue.

Pulkovo plans to offer its new capabilities to a larger number of airlines. At the end of April, St. Petersburg will host a presentation conference for a number of leading air carriers. Pulkovo’s Operations Officer hails this as the perfect opportunity to showcase ‘what St. Petersburg has to offer’ to the global ‘aviation elite’.

Currently, the main airlines for Pulkovo are Aeroflot and Transaero. While commenting on the possibilities for enlarging this pool, Wendefeuer noted that, despite talks being held with the potential candidates, no concrete agreements have been arrived at as of yet.

He says that moving Pulkovo to the new facilities was a relatively fast and problem-free process. It officially began on December 4, 2013, and ended on March 27, 2014. According to the senior officer, it usually takes no less than 6 months to open an airport.

The new terminal, which is called Terminal 1, has twice as many ‘production’ facilities as the previous terminals Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2. Terminal 1 has 88 check-in desks, 102 passport control cabins, and the throughput capacity of the baggage sector is 5 times higher than before.

In addition, the Airport Control Center was set up in Pulkovo, which improved flight regularity: 91% as at the end of the 1st quarter. This indicator ranks among the world’s leading airports.

The new Pulkovo will have its first true ‘field test’ during the upcoming May holidays, when its usual daily passenger flow of 32 thousand people will rise to 41-42 thousand. The peak number of flights will traditionally occur during July-August.

As for another tradition – closing down during St. Petersburg International Economic Forum – the airport’s management does not yet have any information on it. It will become known only 7-10 days before the start of the summit, which this year will take place during May 23-25. Usually during SPIEF Pulkovo only services the guests of the forum.

Страны, регионы и города: Russia
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