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Norilsk airport may become an international hub

In 2018, the airport will serve about 500,000 passengers

MOSCOW, August 17. /TASS/. The Alykel airport, the air gates to Nolilsk and the Taimyr Peninsula, may receive the status of an international airport. Local authorities and the airport’s officials told TASS about what should be done for that, when it may happen, and how the Polar city will benefit from it.

The term is two years

The airport is completing works to renovate the runway, and activities for gaining the international status may begin before the yearend.

According to the Krasnoyarsk Region’s Acting Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Zakharinsky, it may take a few months before the airport may be granted the status, and the project’s implementation may take between 18 and 24 months. This time would be necessary to equip the border crossing station, to have necessary financing and personnel.

"I hope in late 2018 - in 2019, we shall be able to apply regarding this issue to the Russian government, to Rosaviatsiya (air transport authority), and to the Federal Agency for Development of State Border Infrastructure (Rosgranitsa)," he said.

The airport’s management does not doubt they will meet all requirements. "The airport is ready to obtaining the status," Alykel’s Director Andrei Nikiforov told TASS. "Presently, we continue the third stage of renovation, after which we shall be able to apply for it."

Tourist inflow

According to Zakharinsky, in 2018, the airport will serve about 500,000 passengers, while the international airport in Krasnoyarsk is expected to serve 2.5 million. "The share of international routes at the Krasnoyarsk airport will be about 300-400 thousand, or about 15-16%," he continued. "The forecast for international routes at the first stage at the Alykel airport is about five percent, but 25,000 passengers are not little."

Norilsk would be the second city in the region after Krasnoyarsk, which has an international airport. "Thus, the Krasnoyarsk Region will have the second international airport, and Norilsk and Taimyr will receive an option for direct foreign routes, including under programs of the Norilsk Nickel Company," the regional official continued. "Besides, it would be not only an outgoing flow, but an incoming flow. Tourists, dreaming to visit the North Pole, would prefer coming to Norilsk. The airport’s international status would mean we shall have more tourists who would want to see the beauty of Taimyr, of the Putorana Plateau."

The airport’s renovation

The runway’s renovation at the Alykel airport began in 2016. For the time of active works, planes use the 2.5km runway, thus the airport did not have to limit serving passengers or cargo. In 2017, works continued at a passage of more than one kilometer - big planes could not land there, so the carriers were using smaller planes. The runway’s renovation continues for three summer seasons. This autumn, all works will be completed and all limitations will be lifted.

The federal budget allocates for the program 9.6 billion rubles ($142.4 million), and the Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) invests 3 billion rubles ($44.5 million)

Nornickel reported earlier that along with the runway’s renovation the airport began upgrading the terminal. While the runway’s renovation is due to be over in 2018, works at the terminal will continue to 2019. Anyway, the works at the terminal do not affect the provided services. In 2018, the airport’s renovation will be completed by 60%, the company said.

About the airport

The Alykel airport in the Krasnoyarsk Region’s north is 52 km from Norilsk, an industrial center. The airport is the only hub, which unites the northern Krasnoyarsk Region with Russia’s other regions, in addition to water routes along the Yenisei River and along the Northern Sea Route.

Presently, four air companies make regular flights between Norilsk and ten destinations across Russia. In 2017, the airport served 462,000 passengers.