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New horizons of Vladivostok airport

The head of the main eastern air harbor spoke about its prospects for the coming years

Vladivostok International Airport plans to complete the 2019 year with another record for passenger traffic. The airline forecasts to serve more than a million people and continue the dynamic development of the air hub. The new head of the airport, Andrey Vinichenko, spoke about the prospects of the main eastern air harbor of Russia for the coming years in an interview with EastRussia.

New horizons of Vladivostok airport
Photo: Andrey Efimkin

- In your professional career, as we found out, this is the first experience of independent management of an airport of this level. While you are just getting used to it in new quality, share your impressions, what have you already managed to do?

- Indeed, for me this is a very crucial stage in my professional career, the shareholders of Vladivostok Airport suggested that I apply my successful experience at the airport of Krasnoyarsk. But until Vladivostok, I led the production of large Russian airlines and the Krasnoyarsk airport. Despite the fact that I have a fairly short period in Vladivostok and at the airport, I have already managed to appreciate the hospitality of the townspeople and the business qualities of many colleagues. We have already held a strategic session with key employees of the enterprise and outlined the priority steps for the further development of the aircraft harbor.

Photo by: MAV press service

- Tell me, what are the expectations for the results of the year on the activities of the Knevichs? So far, according to preliminary data, the airport figures cause some optimism. Do you share it?

- Since the arrival of new shareholders, an international consortium with RDIF, Singapore Changi Airport and private Russian investors, the Vladivostok airport has shown not just stable, but explosive growth. From 2016 to the present, the number of served passengers has almost doubled - from 1,7 million to more than three million people. On average, the airport grows by 15% throughout the year. This year we also plan to maintain these indicators and expect to set another record - to serve more than three million passengers. Following the results of 11 months, the airport has already received and sent more than 2,7 million passengers. According to the dynamics of passenger growth, Vladivostok takes a leading position among the airports of the Far Eastern Federal District and Siberia.

- Today, Primorsky Krai is the most densely populated and economically developed region of the Far Eastern Federal District. What is the reason for the increase in airport performance and the interest in it of foreign air carriers from various countries?

- In addition to the fact that Vladivostok Airport is the main window from Russia to the Asia-Pacific region, it also occupies a leading position in the development of the route network and passenger flow among the airports of the Far Eastern Federal District and Eastern Siberia. Suffice it to say that Vladivostok is one of the first to receive the status of “open skies” with the Republic of Korea. Today, only 1,3 million people are served on international lines - this is almost 30% higher than last year. Passenger traffic comparable to the passenger flow of an airport such as Anapa. The main increase in passenger traffic on international routes is provided by flights to Seoul, Tokyo and Busan. For example, in the Japanese direction, passenger flow more than doubled (+ 118%), while in the South Korean direction the number of passengers served increased by 22%.

Photo by: Matvey Nosarev

- In addition to the traditionally popular Korea and Japan, are there any other areas for development. What prospects do you see?

- An important point regarding Japan should be noted. Next year, the Summer Olympic Games will be held there, which is why many airlines are already trying to strengthen their position in the air transportation market of Primorye to provide direct and transfer transportation. The second important factor is the proximity to the country with the second largest economy in the world, after the United States. Of course, this is China. From Vladivostok, S7 Airlines and NordStar will continue to operate flights to Beijing, Sanya, Yanji, Harbin, Shanghai and Hong Kong in the winter schedule. More than 20 flights to China will be operated from Vladivostok Airport weekly. And now the oncoming flow from China has begun. A highlight of this year was the arrival of a new carrier from China to Vladivostok. Chengdu Airlines connected the coastal capital and Harbin. While there will be two flights a week. At the same time, Vladivostok was the first in the world to receive the latest Comac ARJ21-700 aircraft at its airport, which indicates the level of trust and interest for our Chinese partners in the region and the airport.

- Is the airport ready for increased loads and further growth in passenger traffic?

- Definitely ready. Examples of annual service to WEF participants are proof of this. Vladivostok (Knevichi) - one of the largest airport complexes in the Far Eastern Federal District, its area is 47,5 thousand square meters. meters. The airport has a significant margin of "strength", namely the reserve capacity, for the next five to seven years. In addition, it is possible to increase the capacity of the baggage handling system by 30-40%. For almost two years, since February 2018, a full-fledged transfer zone has been operating at the airport, providing all types of connections with a short transfer of up to 45 minutes and a long one - up to 55 minutes. At the same time, Vladivostok today is developing as an international hub for residents of China and Japan during flights between countries. The transfer volume for these countries reaches 40% (based on the results of the nine months of the 2019 year) in the total transfer volume. Our goal by the 2024 year is to achieve the 10% share of the transfer in the total volume of passengers served. The airport is able to double this figure by the year 2030.

- How will you achieve strategic goals? How can this be achieved?

- First of all, due to closer work with partners. Two large carriers Aurora (part of the Aeroflot group) and S7 Airlines are constantly based at the Vladivostok airport. Another major Russian airline, Ural Airlines, has been showing interest in a permanent presence, and it began operating in the region since 2018. The growing business and tourist activity of Primorye and neighboring countries is also attracting foreign carriers to open new cities and increase the number of flights to existing destinations. The airport itself is a living organism, which is always in development and improvement. The terminal, which is one of the largest in the Far Eastern Federal District, is working on the restructuring of commercial premises, public areas and business lounges. By the new year, travelers will receive a new duty free. In general, until 2021 of the year, the airport will carry out planned modernization of the passenger terminal within the existing areas, first of all, an increase in throughput capacity on the MVL. Given the growth of international women, there is a need to expand the checkpoint across the state border. In addition, the number of check-in counters will be increased and the luggage system will be modernized.

Photo by: Andrey Efimkin

- Are there any long-term plans for the development of the airport?

- I have already noted the modernization of the passenger terminal within the existing areas until the 2021 of the year. Also, for three years we intend to implement the construction of a hotel and entertainment complex near the station square to meet the growing needs of passenger traffic and additional concentration of business at the airport. And in order to optimize production processes and reduce costs in connection with the historically remote location of the service infrastructure, we will develop a new office and technical area.

- You mentioned the New Year holidays, what else are we waiting for passengers during this period?

- Taking this opportunity, I want to congratulate everyone in advance on the upcoming Christmas and Happy New Year, wish a good rest and exciting travels in the coming year, as well as well-being and health to all our customers around the world. Together with the airlines, we proposed a wide charter program. Lovers of relaxation in Thailand will be able to fly to Bangkok, Utapao, Phuket, and Krabi. For the first time, S7 Airlines introduces a regular flight along the Vietnamese route Vladivostok - Kamran. Tourist charter flights of AZUR Air and Royal Flight airlines from Vladivostok to Fukuok are resumed. The airport will also give passengers a New Year mood. The traditional Christmas tree and holiday paraphernalia will create the necessary mood for further relaxation.

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