ULAN UDE, March 22 (Itar-Tass) — The modernization of the Baikal international aiprort in the Republic of Buryatia will be completed this year. "Under the Federal purpose-oriented programme 'The Economic and Social Development of the Far East and Zabaikalye (trans-Baikal area) Within a Period until 2013', 328 million roubles are assigned from the Federal budget for the modernization of this air harbour of Ulan Ude," an official in the press service of the republican government told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
The upgrading programme provides for the construction of a patrol motor-road, emergency rescue stations, a taxiway, checkpoints, and air traffic control facilities. "In all, over 520 million roubles have been spent on modernization ever since it was started in 2009. Apart from modernizing the Baikal airport proper, an air State-border-crossing station at the airport is to be reconstructed. The Federal budget assigns 215 million roubles for these purposes," a Buryatia Transport Ministry official pointed out.
Passenger transportation via the Baikal airport is expected to grow from 160,000 - 170,000 now up to 500,000 in the coming three years. The airport is to become the main transportation hub of the "Baikal Harbour" tourist zone which will ensure an annual arrival of up to two million tourists to the republic. The modernized airport will be capable of receiving all types of airliners and increasing the airport's acceptance rate up to one million people a year.
Flights from Ulan Ude's airport to cities in the Russian Federation are currently operated by the Russian Sibir, Yakutia, TransAero, and IrAero companies. The planes of the Mongolian Eznis Airways company fly along the Ulan Ude -- Ulan Bator route. The Rusline Company has launched an Ulan Ude - Manchuria (PRC) flight while the Russian NordWind started Ulan Ude-Bangkok flights. It is also planned to inaugurate flights from Buryatia to Beijing, Tokyo, and other cities in Pacific Rim countries.