Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) opened its third runway on Thursday welcoming Aeroflot’s Airbus A321 as the first flight to touch down. The Aeroflot Airbus A321, operating as flight number SU19 from St Petersburg, touched down at 16:27 to become the first aircraft to use Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport’s third runway.
Designated as runway 24R the 3,200-meter long runway was built to increase Moscow’s largest airports flexibility. Its other two runways are spaced too close together. Built parallel with just 280 meters separating them, the two older runways were unable to operate as separate entities.
The new runway allows SVO to increase flights
Aviation website Flight Global quotes Russian transport minister Yevgeny Ditrikh as saying,
“The third runway is completely independent and makes it possible for aircraft to land and take-off unconditionally.”
The new runway will allow Russia’s busiest airport to increase its capacity from 60 to 65 flights per hour to something close to 90.
Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport now has the distinction of being the only airport in Russia to have three runways which doesn’t sound like much when compared to Chicago O’Hare International’s eight.
The big winner from the new runway will be Aeroflot
Under construction since 2011, the third runway at SVO was supposed to be open for the FIFA 2018 World Cup but was held up due to complications involved in moving gas and oil pipelines. On top of this, landfills had to be removed and residents relocated so that the airport’s new infrastructure could be built.
Having started with a budget of 35 billion roubles, costs soon started to exceed expectations with the final bill coming in at 55.7 billion roubles which equates to $875 million.
The new third runway is located at the north end of the newest Northern Terminal Complex, which houses Terminal B and C1 which is still being built. Once runway 24R is fully operational, the two existing runways will be shut down one at a time for repairs.
In another first for Russian aviation, a bridge was built for the repositioning of aircraft that is capable of handling the Airbus A380.
According to website Russian Aviation Insider one of the biggest winners once all three runways are operational will be Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot who uses Sheremetyevo Airport as its home base.
About Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO)
Originally built as a military airport during the 1950s, Sheremetyevo was named after a nearby village on the outskirts of Moscow.
The airport officially opened on November 7th, 1957 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Two years later the airport was handed over to civilian authorities who developed its one runway for airline traffic.
In the 1970s in preparation for the 1980 Moscow Olympics,’ a second runway and new terminal building were built to increase the airport’s capacity. Since then the airport has expanded with new terminals but only having the two runways stoped the airport from expanding further.
Now with the addition of the third runway Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport to use its full name hopes to see passenger numbers increase to 65 million annually by 2030.