the development of the Krasnoyarsk regional hub remains a high priority


New economic realities pose new challenges to the strategically important Russian air transport industry, requiring flexibility and the search for effective solutions. The industry’s mission is to connect the regions of the country, improve their accessibility, preserve its workforce and ensure the sustainability of operations. Despite obvious challenges, the Aeroflot Group is continuing with its important project – developing regional hub operations at Krasnoyarsk Airport (IATA code: KJA), its second base airport after its home port at Sheremetyevo in Moscow. This year, the project is entering its next phase.

A year has passed since the launch of Aeroflot’s new regional gateway at Krasnoyarsk International Airport on June 1, 2021. During these 12 months, the airlines that make up the Aeroflot Group (Aeroflot, Rossiya and LCC Pobeda) have collectively carried approximately 1 million passengers, enabling the airport to achieve the record number of passengers in more than 40 years of history.

Aeroflot’s new hub project was designed to achieve one of the government’s strategic goals for the industry – to develop direct inter-regional connections avoiding the congested Moscow airspace. In its first year of operation, Aeroflot launched flights from Krasnoyarsk to neighboring regions. The most popular destinations in the program were Blagoveschensk and Irkutsk, as well as Black Sea vacation destinations such as Sochi and Krasnodar.

“The results of the first year of Aeroflot’s hub operations in Krasnoyarsk show impressive synergy of this partnership – 15 new destinations were added to the airport’s route network, Aeroflot group airlines carried 1 million passengers on 4,223 flights. Aeroflot’s results are a strong driver for traffic through Krasnoyarsk, and the ripple effect spreads beyond, to transport networks across Russia,” said Andrey Metzer, General Manager of the airport of Krasnoyarsk.

“In a short time, we have achieved the goal of establishing Aeroflot’s first regional base outside of Moscow, which has proven popular with passengers. A lot has been done, but intense work awaits us in the new economic reality, and our base in Krasnoyarsk is changing with new missions,” comments Aeroflot General Manager Sergey Alexandrovsky.

To stimulate affordable travel in the regions, the Aeroflot Group took the decision to transfer the operation of Krasnoyarsk flights from the premium carrier Aeroflot to its sister airline Rossiya, which is positioned in the mid-price segment. It also paves the way for the next stage of the project as one of Russia’s main regional hubs, enabling efficient operations of locally manufactured Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jets from Rossiya as well as Boeing 737-800s configured with a all-economy cabin. This means that cheaper fares can be offered to the public. From June 6, Aeroflot gradually transferred its schedule from Krasnoyarsk to Rossiya, which now serves Sochi, Blagoveschensk, Irkutsk, Novy Urengoy and Chita. Later this month, Rossiya will expand its route network from KJA to include an array of new domestic destinations, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s largest cities, Osh and Bishkek. The flights will be operated by SSJ100.

This transformation was preceded by the creation of the Krasnoyarsk division of Rossiya. Basing some teams here allows for seamless operations. Rossiya plans to hire more than 200 ground and cabin crew locally, and this number may increase in the future.

Rossiya is Russia’s second-largest airline by fleet and the largest operator of Russian-made aircraft.

RELIABLE MAINTENANCE

Flight safety remains a top priority for the Aeroflot Group. To provide technical support for all Aeroflot flights operated from Krasnoyarsk since June 2021, the group has set up a line maintenance station of its MRO subsidiary A-Technics at the airport. The regional station provides support during aircraft rotation, all line maintenance and engineering, including checks, structural repairs and service bulletins (SB).

As Rossiya launches an expanded flight program from Krasnoyarsk, A-Technics will also maintain its aircraft. The station holds Rosaviatsia’s FAP-285 certificate for maintenance of the Superjet 100, as well as the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737NG. The provider’s qualified personnel and modern equipment are prerequisites for ensuring safe and stable flight operations in accordance with the airline’s schedule.

KRASNOYARSK AIRPORT – IN THE HEART OF SIBERIA

Krasnoyarsk International Airport was chosen to serve as Aeroflot’s first regional base and major hub for several reasons. KJA is one of the most important air transport hubs in Siberia and the Far Eastern region of Russia, it is one of the 15 most important airports in the country. It is aimed at Krasnoyarsk, Russia’s easternmost city with a population of over one million. Krasnoyarsk with 1.1 million inhabitants is surrounded by the vast Krasnoyarsky Kray. The city is a major industrial, scientific and logistics center. A series of regular large-scale events stimulate the growth of tourist traffic in the region, while the social and economic development strategy of the Krasnoyarsk Kray administration until 2030 is expected to transform the region and its main city.

Krasnoyarsk Airport is the strategic transit hub for air connections between the European part of Russia and Asia. Its location within 5,000 to 6,000 km of major destinations in Europe and Southeast Asia means that most routes can be operated by medium-haul aircraft. Thanks to the favorable geographical position of the airport, Aeroflot will be able to organize transfers between points in the Urals, Siberia and southern regions of Russia – and China, as well as other Asian destinations.

2021 has proven to be a landmark year for the airport in many ways, including the highest number of passengers passing through the terminal in one day and an all-time annual passenger traffic record. Last year, Krasnoyarsk Airport handled 2.73 million passengers, marking the all-time high in the airport’s 41-year history. Passenger numbers exceeded the previous record set in 2018 by 5.5%. Compared to 2020, hit by COVID-19, traffic growth reached 63%. Aeroflot contributed greatly to the high operating results, leading the local market by the number of passengers to and from KJA.

Airport traffic growth continues through the tough new times. In May 2022, the airport handled 203,100 passengers, up 7% year-on-year, setting the May record of any other year.

The airport is actively developing and modernizing its infrastructure. The most significant investment, since the launch of the new passenger terminal in 2017, was the construction of a new main taxiway last year. It runs parallel to the runway, for safe taxiing of arriving aircraft from one end of the runway to the apron without interfering with departing aircraft. It has three stopping points, which allows efficient use of the track by reducing taxiing time and queues. After the opening of the new main taxiway, the number of aircraft movements doubled. The airport can now handle up to 24 movements per hour, which means take-offs and landings are made every 3 minutes, and airlines are offered more slots during peak hours.

This year, KJA began major repairs to its apron. The apron of some 109,200 square meters of paved surface will be repaired, also creating space for five additional aircraft stands and two de-icing bays, as well as dedicated lighting for aircraft maintenance at the station . Reconstruction of the deck is expected to be completed in December 2023.

The annual capacity of the passenger terminal is 5 million passengers, or 1,300 passengers per hour. The airport runway is equipped according to ICAO Cat II.

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