It's advantage cargo at Zhukovsky

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Zhukovsky International Airport (ZIA) is located just 23 km South-East of Moscow. The airport is located on the territory of the Ramenskoye airfield with the longest runway in Europe (5,500meters), which allows to service passenger and cargo aircraft of any type. It will be the fourth airport of the Moscow region. ZIA started its operation with the daily flight to Minsk by Belavia on September 12, 2016. In 2018 ZIA paved the way for the opening of the cargo facilities initially to handle air freight and mails for Central Russia. However, in the long run, ZIA Cargo plans to provide reliable means of air transport for Russian and foreign airlines and operators at Zhukovsky International Airport. Evgeny Solodilin, Chief Executive Officer, Zhukovsky International Airport, speaks to Reji John, on the sidelines of Air Cargo Europe in Munich and details the cargo plans of the airport.

Give us a sense of the importance of Zhukovsky Airport in the Moscow region?
The Moscow Region is the most economically developed region of Russia. A significant part of the country's GDP and up to 80 percent of the turnover is concentrated here. The trend of recent years is the growth in cargo turnover, and I am sure that ZIA Cargo will be able to occupy a good place in the market. We have advantages that make it easier for airlines to open new destinations. In fact, ZIA Cargo is a new way to central Russia for companies from the European, Middle Eastern and Asian regions. And we will do our best to make this journey as convenient and simple as possible. It's not about market dominance. Our mission is to provide potential customers with a choice.

How important will be the cargo division for Zhukovsky Airport?
Definitely very important. The construction of a cargo terminal was the first step in the implementation of the stage II of the airport’s ground infrastructure. Without this, further growth would not be possible. Passenger and cargo activities are equally important to us. It is difficult to succeed in this market, if you do only one part. Zhukovsky is less congested than the three other Moscow airports, so that we can ensure our clients equal priority.

Can you tell us more details of the cargo terminal being built?
Evgeny Solodilin, Zhukovsky AirportThis is a modern multi-functional complex with a temporary storage warehouse and customs infrastructure. The total area is 9,200 square meters. In addition to the infrastructure for the storage and handling of goods, the building will have offices of the partner organizations and government services responsible for the maintenance of business processes. ZIA Cargo will be able to handle any type of cargo without restrictions, including large-sized, temperature-sensitive, dangerous, valuable and live animals. Aviation apron for cargo aircraft has an area of 92 thousand square meters and allows us to carry out simultaneous maintenance of four cargo aircraft of the B747 type.

When will the cargo terminal be ready?
We are at the final stage. Overall availability is 85 to 90 percent. Work will be completed by the end of the summer. Licensing and compliance with all legal formalities will take some more time. Thus, the opening of the complex for the operation of import and export will take place in October-November this year.

What kind of cargo throughput or volume would the airport be able to handle annually?
At the current stage of development, the handling capacity will be 100,000 tonnes of cargo annually. In future, we plan to significantly increase this volume: to expand the one under construction now and put into operation an additional terminal. By 2025, we will have the capacity to handle up to 300,000 tonnes annually.

Which are the cargo airlines that you intend to attract to Zhukovsky Airport?
We have already concluded contracts with the majority of Russian carriers. Up to this point, we have focused on the domestic market, but now, with the introduction of new infrastructure, this situation will change. We are open to suggestions. Here, at the Air Cargo Europe exhibition (Munich, Germany), we are actively working with potential partners. Our capabilities allow us to offer airlines a really good deal and we see that the project is of interest.

Are there any specific trade lanes that you are looking forward to when the cargo operations begin at Zhukovsky Airport?
At this stage it is still difficult to draw conclusions. But we are extremely interested in the development of partnership with China, India and the states in Southeast Asia. This is the most important market with huge growth potential.

Give us a sense of the overall investment for the airport and what kind of investment is done for the cargo division?
In 2015, we started work from scratch: there was an excellent airfield in Zhukovsky, but it was never used for passenger traffic. The creation of the starting infrastructure required 85 million dollars in investment. Subsequently, in 2020-2024, another $120 million will be attracted by investors. The development of the cargo complex will also take place in several stages. Currently, total investments in the project amount to $ 35 million. In the future, we will be able to triple the production capacity of the enterprise, which will require additional funds.

This story was originally published in STAT Trade Times' July 2019 issue.

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