New International Airport for Moscow?
The Russian government signed an order on the December 17, 1999, allowing the creation of a point of entry into Russia at Moscow's Bykovo Airport. This was an unexpected departure for government policy regarding Moscow's airports, rumored to be looking to reduce the city's capacity rather than increase it.
The airport is reported to currently handle only about 1% of Moscow's air traffic and has also had considerable financial difficulties, which have resulted in its current status of operating under administration.
The airport reports that it will now begin the investment to allow handling of up to 300-400 international passengers an hour from four Yak-42 flights, capacity which is required to gain the status of an international airport. The major benefit for the joint stock company, 51% owned by the state, which includes both the airport and the airline, will be that they will be able to operate Bykovo Avia international flights from the airport instead of Moscow's three international airports. The company claims this increases their costs through high airport charges and claim that operating from Bykovo will reduce their airport expenses by as much as 80%.
The attraction of the lower cost and the relatively uncongested airport when compared with Domodedovo, has apparently brought interest from a number of international airlines including Moldovan and Georgian Airlines, as well as Saratov Airlines.
The new international status according to the company will also allow them to improve their domestic-international connections to destinations in Germany, Turkey and Austria, destinations that would be expanded to include Frankfurt and other European cities in the event of the international status being granted.
Domestically, Bykovo maintains routes to Anapa, Magnitogorsk and Volgograd using its fleet of Yak-42s and runs a summer schedule to the resorts of Nalchik and Gelendzhik. The company is, however, keen to develop routes to cities in the Northern part of Russia such as Tyumen.
They argue that the 130-seat Yak-42 is an aircraft that has proved to be well suited to the current low volume of traffic and has given them considerable flexibility on costs. This contrasts with some of their competitors which, trapped with large aircraft, have been flying with very low load factors. The company has also developed an executive flight business using a VIP fitted Yak-42 and recently carried Mayor Luzkov to Arkhangelsk.
According to the company, the issue of fleet renewal does not concern the company, which has a fleet of 12 aircraft and access to a further eight through a partnership called the AT Alliance, of which the Bykovo Aircraft Repair Plant is a member. Of their own fleet all but two have been modernized. The company originally had plans to take delivery of 15 Yak-42s, but this has been scaled back over the last few years.
From ConCISe Aerospace
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