New Krasnodar Airport is a key transport project in the South of Russia

Interview for the newspaper “Nezavisimaya gazeta”:

Krasnodar International Airport is one of the ten biggest airports in the country, but there is no room for complacency. In February, a project for the construction of a new airport terminal and a transport-logistic center was presented, which will enable the airport to occupy a leading role in the region and compete with the airports of Eastern Europe and Asia. During the NAIS 2021 exhibition, Novaya Gazeta spoke about the results of 2020, a new project and plans for the future with Alexey STAROSTIN, CEO of Aerodynamics Group.

- Alexey Alexandrovich, what was the year 2020 for Krasnodar airport?
- It would be strange to call the past year successful, considering what disturbances happened in the economy, the world, and particularly in the aviation industry. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties, Krasnodar Airport successfully coped with the crisis. Yes, passenger traffic decreased by 34% compared to 2019 - and amounted to a little more than 3 million passengers. But if you consider that international flights were canceled and have not yet been restored, and for two months we have been working in a reduced mode, then the figures do not seem so small. The lack of international traffic hit us especially hard, but due to domestic traffic, the negative dynamics was partially neutralized.
Of course, Krasnodar airport has been lagging behind the airports of Anapa and Sochi, which are also part of the Aerodynamics group of companies. Sochi almost reached the indicators of 2019, and Anapa managed to set a record for passenger traffic  + 10% compared to 2019. But overall, the results can be called satisfactory.

- What main tasks did you manage to solve last year?
- Firstly, we have successfully overcome the severe crisis, saved jobs and successfully coped with all cataclysms, including weather anomalies. Secondly, we have completed the development of a master plan for a new multimodal hub, the largest in the south of Russia, and approved its general layout.

- The talks about the new hub have been going on for a long time, and we can't wait to find out the details. What will it be like?

- The new complex is a global investment project that will combine air transportation, rail transportation, road and urban transport. One of the key projects will be the construction of a new terminal at Krasnodar airport.
The project will consist of two phases. The first and main stage will end at the beginning of 2024, when a new airport complex with transport infrastructure will be built. Thus, a passenger  terminal building, an administrative building, service and technical premises, warehouses, access roads with a new apron and taxiways will be constructed. The second is the construction of a transport interchange hub with a rail and bus station by the end of 2026.
- At what stage is the construction now?
- The design of the terminal building itself, the apron and taxiways have already been completed. Work is underway to prepare the future construction site. Soon, we plan to place a construction headquarters on the site and begin construction of the first stage. The place for it has already been determined. In early April, we plan to submit a project to State Expertise.

- The project looks magnificent. But how big is the need for such a project in the region and for local residents?

- The need is great. Residents of Kuban want to see their airport as the most beautiful and largest in the south and be proud of it and its almost 90-year history. It is important to understand that the project will not only increase the comfort for passengers, but will also increase the capacity, the number of convenient flights to the regional capital, and also open endless prospects for large small and medium-sized businesses. Since Krasnodar is becoming the center of business and commercial activity of the entire South of Russia, and the airport is the main “gateway” of the city, an area of business and production activity will be formed around the complex. It will include the enterprises of the logistics complex, congress and exhibition areas, production, research and development and experimental and implementation enterprises and others. The emphasis will be put primarily on high-tech innovative industries. The general plan of the city approved the construction of an industrial park (with an area of more than 300 hectares), a technological park, a transport and logistics center "Pashkovsky" (an area of about 2 600 hectares).
The territory of the hub will allow opening new production facilities, retail space, storage facilities, providing other services to support business in this area (delivery, catering, telecommunications, security). These are new jobs, primarily for the residents of the city and the entire Krasnodar agglomeration. According to experts, from 3 to 5 thousand jobs will be created by 2024. By 2042, up to 45,000. All these are managers of different levels, specialists and working personnel.
In addition, you need to take care of tourists, aircraft crews, transfer passengers and business travelers who come to the city for a couple of days. A modern hotel with 150 beds will be built for them. Today this is a prerequisite for any large air hub.
All this will ensure the efficient use of the area around the hub, taking into account the prospects for its development until 2042, without the need to adjust the General Plan of the city.

- The scale of the project is impressive.
- I would say more, our hub is the largest transport project in the South of Russia in terms of construction and investment. The terminal area alone will be more than 80 thousand square meters, which will allow serving up to 10.5 million passengers per year. The airfield will also increase, which will be able to service up to 30 takeoff and landing operations per hour. We plan that Krasnodar airport will be able to compete with large European hubs in Eastern Europe in the future. The city has every chance of becoming an important connection point not only in the country, but also in the international arena: its geographical position, modern infrastructure, and the absence of important transport hubs nearby.
- Are there any reasons that can prevent the airport construction from being completed  on time?
- Of course, there are. These are the reasons that can affect the implementation of the project and increase its terms. At the moment, it is a difficult economic situation in the world and, in general, civil aviation is going through hard times. But we are interested in building a new complex on time. Especially when you consider that the role of Krasnodar as a transfer point has grown significantly in recent years, and passenger traffic, despite the crisis, shows generally positive dynamics. The key issue remains the federal funding of the apron and taxiways in the amount of 4 billion rubles.
It should not be left unmentioned the decrees of the President of Russia on the development of the country's transport infrastructure. Residents of the south of Russia, and Kuban in particular, must get a high-class and technological complex on time. This means that there is no reason to worry about the future of our project.

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