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The new, third runway of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) welcomed its first regular flight on September 19, making SVO the first major airport in Russia to be equipped with three landing and take-off strips.
Runway-3 is located north of the airport’s so-called new Northern Terminal complex (comprising of Terminal B and C1, which is currently under construction), whilst the two existing runways of the country’s biggest airport are located between the Northern and Southern Terminals (D, E, F) complexes.
Runway-3 is poised to increase the capacity of Sheremetyevo from 65 to 90 take-off and landings per hour. The first two runways are too close to each other to allow simultaneous operations, and one has fallen into serious disrepair so that, when the new runway-3 is fully introduced, it will be closed for reconstruction.
The new runway and the new Terminal B are connected by a bridge, the first such piece of airport infrastructure in Russia to be used for the re-positioning of airliners. The bridge can withstand all types and sizes of aircraft, including the Airbus A380, Sheremetyevo insists.
Runway-3 has been under construction since 2011 at the expense of the national budget, and was originally intended to be open in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia. During the course of construction the cost of a new runway has risen from 35 billion to 55.7 billion roubles (US$857 million).
One of the primary beneficiaries of the new runway will be Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, which has Sheremetyevo as its base airport. Furthermore, in the autumn of last year, Russia’s largest airline grouping transferred some of the flights of its Rossiya Airlines affiliate from Vnukovo to Sheremetyevo, thereby providing SVO with additional business and further strengthening its leading airport position.
With its three runways, Sheremetyevo, already the country’s busiest gateway, plans to increase its passenger service capacities to 65 million people annually by 2030.