Sheremetievo Challenges Vnukovo as Moscow Bizav Gateway

 - September 12, 2013, 8:50 AM
Terminal A at Moscow’s Shermetievo International Airport is effectively an FBO dedicated to business aviation operations. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Moscow’s Sheremetievo International Airport is challenging the dominance of Vnukovo-3 Airport as the Russian capital’s main gateway for business aviation. “The best services for business aviation are offered here,” said Sheremetievo general manager Mikhail Vasilenko on the eve of this week’s JetExpo show, which is being hosted by Vnukovo-3.

Sheremetievo normally receives about 25 to 30 business aircraft movements each day. This is about half the daily average at Vnukovo-3, which in last year recorded 19,587 movements and served 137,784 business aircraft passengers, but Vasilenko believes Sheremetievo can attract more traffic by providing a higher standard of service.

More than half of current business aviation traffic at Sheremetievo goes through Terminal A, which is effectively a dedicated FBO operated by the Avia Group. The rest goes through a special area in the airport’s main Terminal B, as well as the Premier Avia FBO and a facility operated by the flight department of Russian energy group LukOil. Vasilenko claimed that having four rival ground support providers has boosted service standards at Sheremetievo. By contrast, VIP-Port operates the single FBO at Vnukovo-3.

Terminal A opened at Sheremetievo in December 2011 and Vasilenko described it as Russia’s “most technologically advanced FBO.” Recently, the facility has been further improved with new air conditioning and heating systems. For now, the building is used by only around 100 passengers per day.

Sheremetievo and Vnukovo-3 have been competing in the business aviation market for the past 10 years. Vnukovo overtook its rival in 2004 and has since established itself as Russia’s leading business aviation gateway, and one of the busiest airports in Europe for this class of traffic. Sheremetievo had an FBO in place before Vnukovo but lost its leadership position during a period of major reconstruction at the airport, which limited takeoff and landing capacity–forcing operators to use Vnukovo or Domodedovo Airport. According to data from the Russian United Business Aviation Association, Vnukovo-3 last year served around 70 percent of business aviation traffic in the Moscow area. Sheremetievo and Domodedovo collectively account for around 25 percent with Ostafievo Airport taking the remaining 5 percent.