The third runway at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport will be put into operation in time for the anticipated traffic surge during the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Russia from mid-June to mid-July this year. The news was announced by Dmitry Kaygorodov, Sheremetyevo’s deputy director for passenger and aircraft services, at the ongoing national airport convention NAIS 2018.
There have been concerns that construction of the new runway would not be completed in time. Last November, Vedomosti daily cited a source close to the Russian Transport Ministry as saying that the work was unlikely be done on time due to schedule slips. Only 43.8% of the planned runway surface was ready by the end of Q1 2017.
The newspaper’s source speculated that the third runway might not in fact be needed for handling FIFA-associated traffic, but was rather primarily meant to help sustain normal operations at Sheremetyevo after one of the existing two runways got closed for reconstruction at a later date.
The third runway will facilitate further development of operations both for the airport, its base carrier Aeroflot, and its sister carrier Rossiya Airlines, which intends to transfer all its Moscow flights from Vnukovo to Sheremetyevo.
The new runway is expected to bring the airport’s annual capacity up to 65 million passengers by 2030.
The repeated construction delays in 2015 were reportedly caused in part by a conflict between the Federal Air Transport Agency and the previous contractor, Transstroy.