Growth at Russian airports slowed last year as 20 per cent of local airports suffered traffic declines.
Throughout 2019, traffic growth through Russia’s airports continued on a downward trajectory. The country’s airports collectively handled some 220.9 million passengers, a 6.9 per cent improvement on 2018. The growth rate was a decline from the 10.8 per cent of 2018 and 17 per cent in 2017. The 30 largest airports were accountable for 88 per cent of Russia’s total air traffic.
ON THE RISE
At 24 per cent, Omsk airport registered the highest growth rate last year, with its passenger numbers increasing to 1.35 million passengers. The majority of them (1.2 million, up by 27 per cent) travelled domestically, with Moscow, St Petersburg and Novosibirsk the most popular airports.
Vnukovo, Russia’s third biggest airport, was the growth-rate leader among Moscow hubs, having demonstrated a 12 per cent year-on-year improvement. In absolute figures, for the first time in its history, the airport recorded more than 24 million passengers.
Sheremetyevo, Russia’s main gateway, reported a 8.9 per cent increase in passenger numbers, up to 49.9 million last year. The significant advancement of Sheremetyevo’s ground infrastructure achieved in 2019, has now prepared a solid base for more growth this year.
Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport, home to Russia’s largest privately-run S7 Airlines, has processed 6.747 million passengers, a 14.2 per cent improvement on the previous year. Base carrier successfully developed its hub operations from Tolmachevo, offering both west- and eastbound connections that resulted in a 27 per cent increase in transfer traffic through the airport last year.
Yekaterinburg’s Koltsovo is home base to another major private carrier Ural Airlines. In 2019 the airport, which is managed by Airports of Regions, handled 6.363 million passengers, a 4.3 per cent improvement on the 2018 results.
Vladivostok also demonstrated an improvement in its operational results. In 20019 the airport’s traffic exceeded three million passengers for the first time. International traffic grew the fastest, reaching 1.5 million passengers, up by 26 per cent on 2018. Seoul, Daegu (both in South Korea) and Tokyo (Japan) were the most popular.
Makhachkala’s Uitash, the only airport in the Dagestan republic, enjoyed healthy growth too, in advance of the introduction of its new passenger terminal that is scheduled to open this year. The new international terminal building will offer 8,000-sq m of floor area and an hourly capacity rate of 190 passengers.
Zhukovsky, adjacent to Moscow, predictably slowed down from its explosive 173 per cent growth in 2018 to a more normal double-digit 14 per cent improvement last year.
In total, 31 airports in Russia exceeded the one million passengers mark, although the top-30 list does not include Murmansk airport whose traffic hit a record 1.03 million passengers in 2019, up by 19.2 per cent year-on-year.