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The future of Vladivostok airport is directly connected with the development of the Far East
- Igor Gennadievich, the first hundred days of your work as general director of MAV have passed. What have you already managed to do and what are your immediate plans?
- In the first months of my work, my attention was drawn to the solution of tasks of the tactical plan: optimization of organizational structure and cost structure, inventory of business processes, etc. I want to get full confidence that, despite a number of complexities with which MIV OJSC had to face, the company is able to move along a progressive path. For a new round of development, Vladivostok airport needs to reach a certain level of stability. In the near future we plan to work with airlines on the issues of opening new international destinations, cooperation with operators of the tourist business with the aim of organizing charter flights on popular and new routes, expanding the range of non-aeronautical services and improving their quality.
- For an ordinary passenger in aviation there are two problems: prices and safety. What is the "headache" at the head of a large international airport?
- About the same and "it hurts" - securing the required level of aviation security is the highest priority for any airport. It is absolutely natural that the requirements for this level are constantly growing. But their execution translates into significant costs associated with the acquisition and commissioning of expensive modern high-tech systems and equipment, training of personnel, etc.
- Does the "Airport" described in Arthur Haley's novel look like the reality with which you deal every day? What in the life of a major airport, in your opinion, the most bottlenecks and the most difficult to solve everyday (and not global) problems?
- In his novel, Arthur Haley skillfully reflected the life of the airport, building a plot around the most obvious aviation crises. We continue to pay special attention to aviation safety and flight safety, preparing for work in adverse weather conditions, and production readiness to respond to any situation. Of course, now, after 50 years after the events described, having a modern material and technical base, experience - including previous generations of aviators, it is much easier to prevent a bad or even an emergency at the airport. But the experiences of the protagonist of the novel, who headed the Lincoln Airport in Illinois, I personally understand - in a bad situation, my workplace at the airport, no matter how strong my team is.
As for bottlenecks and difficult to solve routine issues ... If you do not touch upon force majeure such as failures in check-in systems or baggage claim, then the absolute maximum of problems arises due to the "human factor". Moreover, this concept is scalable: in some cases we are dealing with a minor error of one employee, in others - with a confusing history of continuous violations that, moving from employee to employee along the technology conveyor, cling to one another.
- Since June, 6 weekly flights to China (Beijing) will be launched within the framework of the Open Sky Partnership program. What will this program give to the Russian Far East and the aviation industry of its economy? What opportunities will open to passengers and cargo carriers? What kind of investments will this partnership require from both sides?
The project has partially removed restrictions on commercial rights for foreign airlines. With the exception of the South Korean sector, Russian carriers have not received such rights - this requires a review of international air services agreements. That is, existing agreements contain restrictions on the number of frequencies, slots, carriers, capacities for regular flights and the side of the formation of the load for charter flights. Moreover, Russian air carriers restrict regulation in the distribution of tolerances for international air transport. Thus, at the moment the degree of implementation of the regime does not allow using all its capabilities and reduces the attractiveness of our "Open Sky" for airlines.
- How will Vladivostok international airport develop, what additional infrastructure, investments, personnel changes will require its transformation into a powerful transport hub - regional and international?
- The further development of Vladivostok airport is directly connected with the development of the Far East and Primorye in particular. Zones of priority development, the formation of which should be held here in accordance with the president's instruction, will entail an increase in transport and logistics activity. The key role of the airport is to ensure high-quality satisfaction of the requirements for air communication with the region and the maintenance of passenger and freight traffic.
The main emphasis should be placed on the development of the service component. People want to get at the airport the widest range of services and goods, spend a comfortable time. The airport becomes a special environment in which traditional and new, specific lines of business are successfully operating, which are formed as a response to the need of air travelers. The airport can become a center around which a whole complex of accompanying projects will form - hotels, business, logistics, shopping centers, parking lots, etc. The implementation of these projects is possible with the participation of investors, including within the framework of public-private partnership.
- How does the principles of public-private partnership are applied in the development of MAB?
However, it is difficult to apply positive foreign experience in realizing a concession in the conditions of Russian reality. There is no legislative basis.
I would single out two main directions of concession development. The first is working with operators that provide ground-based services for airlines, the second is working with tenants who provide services to passengers in terminals.
In the first case, our legislation in its present form does not even hint at how the airport, being the main operator, should consolidate, control and regulate the services of other airport operators, and also share with them the burden of total infrastructure and marketing costs.
It turns out that all the costs for the same aviation security, for the maintenance of the airfield, for attracting new airlines, is borne by the chief operator in proud solitude. Operators at the airport can come as much as they want - if only the certificate was appropriate. At the same time, airport costs do not decrease. The operator, entering the market, invests only "in itself", in his concrete business, and the general infrastructure of the airport does not develop at all. In addition, the chief operator does not have any real tools to monitor the quality of the service provided by the operator. Operators are interested, as a rule, only the most profitable, or the least expensive for capex types of airport services: fuel supply, cargo handling, provision of food, etc. As a result, the airport does not develop as a single organism, there are no people willing to invest in it as a general big project.
In the second case, in accordance with the current legal norms, by signing a concession agreement with a tenant who wants to work inside the terminal, we actually get a lease that does not allow us to control neither the level of quality of the services provided nor information on the dependence of its revenues on the volume of passenger traffic, Which is necessary to determine the variable part of the concessionary payments. In fact, just like in the first case, the team "airport-tenants" does not get a team that could jointly provide a higher level of service to air passengers.
Perhaps right now, when the country's leadership has placed emphasis on creating special conditions for business development in the Far East, it's high time to pay attention to the gaps in the legislative regulation of PPP, especially with regard to transport enterprises. At least as a kind of "pilot" project, providing for the relevant legislative "corridors." The need for this is ripe and will sound more insistent as we approach the implementation of specific projects within the zones of advanced development.
- The aviation industry in Russia is very dependent on imports. In your opinion, do Russian aircraft builders have a chance to regain worthy positions in the world market?
What I had to do first of all, I think, has already been done: both the state and the industry realized that "in the old way" it is no longer possible to work. It is necessary to completely change the business models that still operate in the aircraft industry, to divide the enterprises of the final assembly and the suppliers of air components, which with their product should focus not only on the domestic market, but on the world market. We do not fully develop marketing, promotion, and, more importantly, after-sales service, and the availability of a PPO network is one of the key factors for success in the market. In conditions when the production cost of a new aircraft is growing, it is important to reduce the cost of its operation by minimizing idle risks for technical reasons. Without this option, the airline is unlikely to acquire the aircraft, no matter how outstanding its technical characteristics and no matter how attractive the price. All this is quite understandable things, but their implementation requires perseverance from the industry itself. It is necessary through non-profit professional associations to actively participate in creating conditions for achieving the state's task.
- And finally, do you think that somehow the "Crimean" sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries will affect the airport's activities?
- As for the impact of sanctions - it is difficult to say now. Forecasts from their introduction are contradictory, while there is no specificity - as far as I understand, no specific economic sanctions have yet been announced.
In any case, in my sensation, we will be affected the least. Due to its geographical location Vladivostok Airport is focused on the development of Asian routes. And here, under certain circumstances, the impact of sanctions can even become a stimulating moment - passenger traffic and communication with Southeast Asia can get situational development. But I repeat, it is impossible to calculate something at the moment.