Novosibirsk Tolmachevo: Siberia’s gateway
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, home to 46 research institutes, the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association and to numerous industrial and cultural organisations. In recent years, the city has enjoyed an economic boom. In 2006, the airport embarked on an intensive development programme, including the reconstruction of its international and domestic terminals. In 2008, its 148-room Skyport hotel opened, outclassing all other hotels in the city, and a luxurious VIP facility opened in 2009.
The economic recession during 2009 brought setbacks to Tolmachevo, as it did to most airports. Passenger numbers fell by 15% and fares to Moscow dropped by 30%. However, throughout the last decade, GDP growth in the Novosibirsk region has significantly outpaced the rest of Russia, and the airport has grown accordingly. In 2011, the number of passengers handled by Tolmachevo Airport reached 2.8 million people, an increase of 22.3% in comparison with 2010. Meanwhile, in January 2012 growth in passenger traffic of 33% was recorded. Alexander Borodin, the airport’s CEO, said: “This airport, which is celebrating its 55th anniversary, is set to take its three-millionth passenger for the first time in its history this year.”
Tolmachevo Airport is one of the most intensively developing airports in Russia. Since the adoption of its company development strategy in 2003, the area of the domestic flight terminal has been doubled. The capacity of the international and domestic terminals has increased from 1,450 to 2,550 people per hour. Tolmachevo’s second, 3,605m, ILS CAT II runway can accommodate 36 movements per hour and is crucial in the airport’s traffic expansion plans. The north-south orientation of the new runway means that the flight path avoids the city, making it easier to ensure continued 24-hour operations in the future.
Growing demand for international flights, which saw a 45% year-on-year increase in 2011, creates significant pressure on the airport’s passenger handling facilities. In mid-May 2012, expansion of the passport control area was completed as an intermediate stage of the passenger handling optimisation programme implemented at Tolmachevo. The next step is the construction of a connecting terminal between the domestic and international terminals. Project documentation is currently being prepared in cooperation with Hochtief Airport GmbH. Once all changes are in place, the international area of Tolmachevo Airport will increase from 11,000sqm to 30,000sqm and capacity will reach 1,500 passengers per hour. The amount of investment will be about 700 million Rubles (€17m) and completion of the works is scheduled in 2014.
Bright outlook for cargo growth
Novosibirsk’s convenient transit location along the Siberian Railway and Trans-Siberian motorway is reflected in cargo throughput at the airport. The airport’s own existing cargo warehouse handles around 50 tonnes daily and is equipped to process livestock, refrigerated goods and dangerous materials. Abdul Kusaev, the airport’s Deputy General Director, said: “We are very good for transit stops and technical stops, because the airline will have the opportunity to increase its load. By starting out with half-full tanks and refuelling at Tolmachevo, they can actually increase their payload by 5-10%.” The airport aims to convert more and more of those stops into fully-fledged cargo or mixed services.