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21 Aug
2014

The airport of Kurgan administration would like to enlarge a passenger flow by means of international flights servicing. The management estimates to prepare the required documentation by the end of the next year. The only thing left is to persuade the Russian Border Service Agency into financing the checkpoint arrangement.

The airport of Kurgan administration prognoses to prepare and submit the documents required for the border checkpoint opening to the Russian Border Service Agency by the end of 2015. The corresponding timeframe is indicated in the project Roadmap. The administration representatives hope that the innovation will significantly enlarge a passenger flow. The region authorities thus hope to attract additional investments into the region. Now the matter depends on the authorities’ decisiveness: experience says that such projects cost hundreds of millions of rubles in spite of the fact that airports investors spend their own money in the preparatory work, space allotment and the process arrangement.

Roadmap of the Kurgan airport growth developed by the region administration was submitted to Alexey Kokorin, temporarily in charge of the region governor. At the same time a special operating group to supervise over the project was formed in Kurgan. The work has already started, the region authorities have sent all necessary requests to the responsible agencies and the specialists have made calculations upon the passenger flow in the region. In accordance with the document by the 01st of September the project will have been included into the region social economic development strategy. Then specialists of the region economic development department and the Aerofuels investment company will have to make the detailed economic calculations and to formalize substantiation of necessity to open the border checkpoint. In the fourth quarter of the next year it is planned to prepare and to send the checkpoint arrangement proposal to the Russian Border Service Agency. And then the most interesting things will start.

Even in summer the Aerofuels Group airport company-owner and Head of the Kurgan region signed an agreement on public-private partnership in the issues dealing with the state border checkpoint opening and customs control zone arrangement in the airport of Kurgan. As per the parties plan the investor will bear all expenses in the process arrangement – about 100 mln rubles. The region administration, for their part, promises to take care of all issues settlement with the state authorities as soon as possible. The only thing left is to prove to the Russian Border Service Agency that the airport of Kurgan needs this option. But the agency parts with money unwillingly, as the market players remark pointing out that limited suppliers of special equipment will make such projects more expensive. How much Kurgan equipping costs is under estimation but judging upon the Russian Border Service Agency website information the airport of Syktyvkar checkpoint re-equipment, for example, could have cost 800 mln rubles, 500 mln rubles of which shall be allocated by the agency. Installation of additional six passport control cabins in Tolmachevo airport of Novosibirsk required 200 mln rubles of investments.

As Vladimir Spiridonov, Aerofuels Group General Director, hoped earlier, it would be possible to implement what is planned before the end of the next year. The company is ready to invest 100 mln rubles into the project. Now several alternatives of border checkpoints arrangement on the territory of the airport terminal building are under consideration: building of additional premises and reconstruction of the existing ones. The optimum alternative from the economic point of view will be preferred.

The checkpoint shall pass approximately 150 passengers per hour. It is supposed that if the citizens of Kurgan get the opportunity to fly abroad directly, then the passenger flow of the airport can grow to 40% in several years. That is the amount of potential passengers flying abroad now from the neighboring Tyumen and Yekaterinburg as per the airport administration calculations. Besides, the airport plans to attract citizens of the adjoining regions, for which, for examples, free transfers are being arranged and energetic efforts to get the citizens acquainted with the airport activity are being put. As Dmitry Kovalenko, the company Director, remarked several times, it is information activity which is very important for the citizens of the region like the Kurgan area – it is necessary that people will be able to get to know about the events in the airport, about new flights and so on, as, otherwise, by force of habit they will continue to employ services offered by the distant but larger air hubs. It is planned to attract passengers even from the border towns of neighboring Kazakhstan – it is easier to get to Kurgan than to the large airports in their country.

It is planned that the first flights to popular foreign resorts - to Egypt and Turkey will be performed from Kurgan. As V.Spiridonov said, among the Russian air carriers there are already those willing to take these routes. Afterwards the management supposes to start flights to the European cities. To achieve that it is planned to attract foreign lowcosters. The management points out that the company conforms to all standards of the airports for lowcosters and is ready to meet the needs of the airlines willing to connect the Russian town with the European capitals. Kurgan has already got experience of cooperation with lowcosters – Avianova performed flights there quite successfully. But as D.Kovalenko pointed out, Dobrolet, the daughter company of Aeroflot, did not express any wish to join an enlarging list of the airport partners.

Apart from the passengers' comfort, the border checkpoint shall improve the investment climate of the region, as Alexey Kokorin, temporarily in charge of the region governor, expects. Investors, for their part, hope that this step will promote a swift-moving development of the airport: "Growth of status up to international airport will give rise to development, will reduce ticket prices, give additional profitability, increase employment opportunities and help investments into the related airport activities", V.Spiridonov said.

Development of the airport is not limited with plans to launch international service. This year the new flights from Kurgan to St.Petersburg and Sochi have started, as well as an additional flight to Moscow. Judging upon flights fill-up, though not from the first day, but they are getting popular among the region residents. Probably, it will be possible to enlarge route network due to a new Russian region. As A.Kokorin said, alternatives to launch flights to the Crimea will be considered next year.

Now the airport of Kurgan passenger flow is one and half times larger than that during the similar period last year. The company representatives point out that this effect could be achieved thanks to new flights. Consequently, active cooperation with air carriers became possible thanks to close relationship with the region authorities. Last summer the airport suffered a threat to lose property tax allowances due to which the airport, at that moment just withdrawn from bankruptcy proceedings, could save about 3 mln rubles per year. That is a big amount for a small airport, especially taking into account the necessity to make last debts payments.

But, as V.Spiridonov explained to AviaPort agency, this problem was successfully settled and the airport saved tax allowances. Thanks to that now the airport management has opportunity to offer profitable tariffs to air carriers, which helps to start new flights and, consequently, to enlarge passenger flow and to get possibility to earn and to progress.

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