New Pulkovo Terminal on Track

New Pulkovo Terminal on Track

Published: June 27, 2012 (Issue # 1715)

pulkovo airport

An artist’s impression of the new terminal at Pulkovo Airport. According to plans, construction should be completed in 2013.

Construction of the new terminal at the city’s Pulkovo Airport is going ahead according to schedule and should be completed at the end of next year, airport representatives said Monday.

Pulkovo currently consists of two terminals, one for domestic flights and another for international routes. According to the airport’s operator, the Northern Capital Gateway consortium, the frame of the new building, located near Terminal 1, is 90-percent complete and the roof is 30 percent done.

“The building has got a distinct shape; we can see now what it will look like at the end of construction,” said Sergei Emdin, general director of the Northern Capital Gateway consortium, which has operated Pulkovo Airport since April 2010.

“Construction has been carried out according to plan so far and we are becoming more and more confident that the new building will be completed in 2013,” he added.

The new terminal occupies a total area of 94,600 square meters. The first floor will be used for arrivals, the second for immigration control and domestic transfers, and the third for departures. The new terminal was designed by British architect Nicholas Grimshaw, who worked on the construction of various parts of London’s Heathrow Airport, Zurich Airport and the Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

Jochen Herter, the project manager for the new terminal, said Grimshaw was behind the project’s design.

According to Herter, the design reflects St. Petersburg’s islands, canals and bridges. This will be reflected in the construction of several separate zones that will be connected to each other by walkways. Another aim is to reflect the image of traditional Russian churches in the terminal by constructing metal-paneled ceilings that are gold and metallic in color.

The project’s general contractor is Turkish construction firm Ictas Insaat.

An 11,000-square-meter Northern Landing Gallery, which will be used for international flights, will be built where the Rossiya Airlines building, which was demolished in April this year, once stood, and will become part of the new terminal. Northern Capital Gateway also plans to collaborate more actively with Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, and is considering making Aeroflot Pulkovo’s main carrier. But Emdin noted that even though the discussion with Aeroflot is underway, they are in no hurry to decide the question and strategies will be further discussed after construction of the terminal is complete.

Other new facilities to be built as part of the new terminal will include a covered multistory car park, a business center and a hotel.

A railway line connecting Pulkovo Airport and Baltiisky Railway Station was originally planned to be launched for the opening of the new terminal in 2013. Emdin said that the airport hasn’t canceled the project, but its construction is likely to be delayed until 2014.

After the new terminal is complete, the large-scale reconstruction of the Pulkovo 1 terminal will be launched, and is planned to be finished in 2014.

“We are now trying to increase the number of gates, check-in desks and inspection points, but nevertheless it’s impossible to force something new out of the old terminals,” said Emdin.

Volker Wendefeuer, senior operations director of the Northern Capital Gateway consortium, said that the number of passengers at Pulkovo is constantly increasing and the airport’s capacity problem will continue until the new terminal opens.

“We want the updated Pulkovo to become one of the largest airline hubs in Northern Europe,” Emdin said. He noted that in order to achieve this, it is necessary to take certain steps to liberalize legislation concerning the licensing of air carriers and facilitating visa regimes. Emdin discussed these matters with Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov when the latter visited Pulkovo during last week’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

After the construction of the new terminal and reconstruction of Pulkovo 1, Pulkovo Airport’s total area will increase to 146,000 square meters — 3.5 times bigger than its current size. The number of check-in desks will be doubled, there will be 102 immigration control desks, and more jet bridges (the tunnel-like chutes that lead directly from airport gates onto the plane) will be used instead of buses to take passengers to planes.

“The new terminal has been designed to start new traditions within Pulkovo,” Emdin said. “It will be equipped with new technologies from leading providers; as a result we’ll have to retrain most of the staff and hire new employees with specialties in new areas,” he added.

Investment in the reconstruction project and the new terminal totals more than $1.5 billion. The project is being implemented and operated by Northern Capital Gateway consortium without state investment. Northern Gateway Capital is an international syndicate consisting of Russia’s VTB Bank, German transport company Fraport and the Greek development organization Copelouzos Group. Thirty-three percent of investment in the airport project has come from shareholders, seven percent from the airport itself and 60 percent from international institutions.

Emdin estimated the project’s payback period at ten years.

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