At the XXII Olympic Winter Games, which open tomorrow and run through February 23, business aircraft passengers and crew visiting the Southern Russian city of Sochi will see the results of massive infrastructure investments–estimated at $50.7 billion–made since 2008.
These include a 43,000-sq-ft business aircraft terminal opened in September at Sochi-Adler International Airport. The facility can handle up to 80 passengers an hour. Although its ramp can accommodate up to 12 business jets and 35 more in a separate parking area, no parking is allowed during the Olympics and a two-hour window is granted before aircraft must depart.
The number of business aircraft flights into Sochi-Adler is expected to exceed 300 each day of the games. Rules applying to business jet crews arriving at Russian airports remain unchanged for the Olympics, including crew visa requirements.
Aircraft slots into Sochi-Adler are quite scarce during the games, and the airspace is tightly controlled by Russia’s Federal Security Service and the Federal Air Transport Agency. Slot restrictions will be in place until April 30. During this period, business aircraft with slots are allowed to land at Sochi, provided they arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled slot time. Nearby airports in Krasnodar and Anapa are serving as reliever airfields during the Olympics. In the past couple of weeks, some U.S. business jet operators had expressed concern about what they understood to be landing/handling fees of 1.5 million rubles ($43,000) for each business jet arriving at Sochi, but a spokesman for handling agent Universal Weather & Aviation told AIN today that the official Notam for Sochi operations suggests this figure is in fact a fine/penalty for any business aircraft that misses its slot reservation time by more than 30 minutes.