Takeoff strip, parking, logistics: strategy until 2050 for Kazan Airport

If the master plan does not bring changes, the airport may be unable to cope with the projected load, experts say

Takeoff strip, parking, logistics: strategy until 2050 for Kazan Airport
Photo: Maksim Platonov

Tatarstan intends to immediately plan the development of the Kazan air harbor for 30 years ahead: the concept of the airport master plan has been presented to the president of the republic, and the ministry of transport of the Republic of Tatarstan is going start searching for an organisation that will develop this document. This may prove to be a turning point for the capital's heavenly gate: the document should take into account a number of pressing problems, experts say. Although, as some of them note, so far the airport shows a lack of readiness even for small reforms.

Master plan concept has been demonstrated to president

Yesterday, President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov held a closed-press meeting on the development of the new master plan of Kazan International Airport for decades to come, as well as the strategy of development of the Kazan Expo international exhibition centre for the next 5 years. This time, they have adopted the main document defining all the facets of the development of the air hub immediately for the period up to 2050 — the previous master plan, adopted in 2009, covered only 10 years, and its planning horizon has actually already expired.

The search for an organisation that would develop the new master plan (last time it was German Fraport AG, which manages a number of airports in Germany) was announced at a recent board meeting by Minister of Transport and Road Management of Tatarstan Farit Khanifov. However, the ministry already presented the general concept of the plan, on which the authors of the project will rely, yesterday.

The search for an organisation that will develop the new master plan was announced at the recent board meeting by Minister of Transport and Road Management of Tatarstan Farit Khanifov. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Some aspects of this concept are already known from the words of Khanifov and from previous statements. For example, it will reflect the construction of a new passenger terminal, which was announced at the beginning of 2020, as well as the construction of a cargo terminal, which is being developed by the Volga-Dnepr Group.

The press service of the Kazan Airport is still silent about the concept of the master plan. But, according to experts, it is already clear that the document is going to reflect the solution of a number of sensitive issues of the airport.

“When they realise it, it will be already too late”

In a conversation with Realnoe Vremya, Azat Khakim, the chairman of the board of directors of Tulpar Aerogroup, noted: now the airport is suffering from underutilisation during the pandemic, but soon a completely different problem may come to replace it.

“Today, the airport lacks passengers, because during the coronavirus pandemic, its load (passenger traffic) fell by 40%. If a year ago, the airport transported 3,5 million people, then this year — about 2,5 million, I suppose. It lost a third of the passengers, if not more. This is the main problem. But the pandemic will not last forever, so we need to think about the development of the airport. To do this, we need to make sure that the territory is reserved. When they realise it, it will be already too late. There are many nuances — infrastructure, logistics, which need to be taken into account right now," Azat Khakim said.

As an illustration of this problem, the source of the publication cites the example of the situation with the construction of a new hangar — apparently, even a relatively small construction is not easy for the airport.

“Our company has a very good partnership with them (with the airport — editor's note). But we've been trying to build another hangar for two or three years now. And the issue of land acquisition has being solved for a very long time. Maintenance volumes are growing, we need to move forward, but the hangar is not being built quickly. This is the question we need to solve," the speaker added.

Photo: Maksim Platonov

Airstrip and parking lots

Pyotr Trubaev, CEO of UVT Aero, notes that at the current stage, the concept of the master plan has not yet been discussed with representatives of the aviation industry. Nevertheless, the industry has proposals.

“The airstrip has a certain category. Now the category has been partially removed to increase the weather minimum. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the landing equipment is used to the maximum. What they have restricted, we need to restore, so that the airport is really the smallest category for take-off and landing of aircraft," explains Trubaev.

The head of the airline also adds that in the future the airport will need to expand parking. Let us remind that even now the village of Stolbishche, next to the airport, has become the centre of a kind of “parking business” — they provide parking spaces for departing passengers.

“Taking into account the prospects, the increase in volumes, it is probably possible to think of alternative options. Space for this can be allocated. This additional zone will never hurt," Trubaev believes.

Photo: Maksim Platonov

“Problem with client logistics”

Anna Svinina, the director of the Institute of Engineering Economics and Entrepreneurship at the KNRTU-KAI, points out the difficulties in working with passengers:

“The airport has problems with customer logistics — for example, the departure counters to Kazakhstan and Belarus are quite difficult to find, they are like between two terminals. Also, the logistics of the aircraft on the runway is not the most convenient, the plane on the ground like makes a U-turn. I am not very familiar with the location of the cargo infrastructure, but there is an assumption that everything is not convenient there either.”

However, we add that passengers at the Kazan Airport are also faced with more unpleasant situations that affect the image of the air harbor — such as brawls and queues at the counter with testing for coronavirus. Or a crowded departure lounge in Terminal 1 — when people not only have nowhere to sit, but even nowhere to stand.

Realnoe Vremya will follow the developments.

By Alexander Artemyev, Timur Rakhmatullin
Tatarstan