A dedicated business aviation facility, Terminal A, opened last month at Moscow Sheremetievo Airport (SVO). The Avia Group-operated facility, the most recent addition to a series of the new terminals completed in Sheremetievo (C, D and E) and reworked ones (B and F), is the first exclusively for business aircraft passengers. The other “lettered” terminals are for mainline airline passengers. The opening of the facility marks the completion of the Sheremetievo major reconstruction process launched in the late 1990s to bring the airport to modern European standards.
This is not the first executive facility at the airport. A high-class FBO has been operational in this airport since the turn of the century. Built by Eugeny Bahtin’s Avcom and now operated by Premier-Avia, that FBO does not have “Terminal” status with the airport administration. Airport general director Mikhail Vasilenko said Premier-Avia will continue to operate at the airport, giving business travelers and business jet operators a choice of facilities. However, he expects the newer facility to dominate, and added, “Premier-Avia’s [FBO] may provide some healthy competition to the benefit of our customers.”
The “Moscow Air Knot” has seen a 30- to 45-percent rise in business aviation traffic in the past few years, according to Mikhail Semyenov, Avia-Group president. Avia-Group launched the Terminal A project to support growth at Sheremetievo with improved infrastructure and quality of services for business travelers.
Avia-Group’s first project was restoring the ANTS hangar complex and elevating it to modern international standards for business aircraft shelter. As a result, Sheremetievo added 25 new spots for business jet storage and maintenance.
The company launched the Terminal A project in 2007 to build an FBO that meets recent western standards. It was a logical expansion of Avia-Group’s business.
Terminal A encompasses some 29,000 sq ft (2,700 sq m). In theory, it can serve up to 75,000 business travelers a year, but the flow through this facility is unlikely to reach that figure. Inside the terminal there are departure and arrival halls, a pair of VIP rooms, another pair of VIP rooms for negotiations, a duty-free shop, a conference hall and a bar with a magnificent view over the runway. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building. In addition, there is a large car park near the terminal entrance for passengers, and the airport operator plans to add a helipad eventually.
The nearby hangar complex offers covered storage for clients’ business jets and some maintenance, but Avia-Group is looking for partnerships with western OEMs to build an expanded maintenance service center for western business jets.
Services at Terminal A include flight-planning, obtaining permits from Russian and other countries’ aviation authorities, aircraft handling, traveler care and hangarage. There is a 24-hour-a-day dispatcher service, and associated companies will provide hotel accommodations and transfer. The airport offers various services to aircraft, including deicing.
Terminal A represents a “government-private partnership,” according to Avia Group’s Semyenov. This term reflects the mixed nature of investments in Sheremetievo. Of the project, he said, “The relations between the government structures and private investors…brought to life the first private-government partnership in Russian business aviation.” He added, Terminal A is “a socially responsible business…it has created 250 to 300 well paid jobs for local dwellers.”
Speaking at the opening ceremonies, head of Khimki urban region administration Vladimir Stelchenko said, “From its birth, Sheremetievo has served as a main gate into Russia. In that sense, Terminal A adds a door into Russia, that for businessmen. I enjoyed helping this project and promoting it in a hope that more business people would be able to visit Russia and do it with comfort. We want more businessmen from other countries to visit us and start their business here, invest into their Russian projects. Ultimately, this will do good to Russia and her residents, including the area around this airport.”
He anticipates other government-private partnerships relating to Sheremetievo. First is the construction of a high-speed tram link to the city of Moscow using an elevated monorail. The second project is a high-speed railway between Khimki and Pulkovo intended to bring more passengers from St. Petersburg to Sheremetievo.
Vasilenko also announced more new projects. He told AIN TrasGroup will lead a private-government partnership on funding construction of a high-speed rail link between the north and south sectors of the airport. He expects the project to be complete by late next year or early 2014.
In addition, the airport is planning to add a third runway within the next two years that would operate independently of the existing pair, boosting airport capacity to the benefit of business aircraft operators.
“Today, we can give business aviation only a limited number of slots,” Vasilenko told AIN. Even with the addition of the third runway, he emphasized, “SVO will not be able to serve every business jet that wants it. Let me stress: SVO will not compete directly with Vnukovo, which today handles most of the business aviation traffic to Moscow. But we intend to serve a distinct portion of that market, what I call the best of the premium segment.”