Moscow airport announces $1.2 billion expansion ahead of World Cup

Ongoing construction work at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, on Oct 25, 2016.
Ongoing construction work at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, on Oct 25, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, the largest in Russia, has invested US$865 million (S$1.2 billion) into building a new terminal and expanding its operations ahead of the 2018 World Cup, its chief executive said on Tuesday (Oct 25).

"We can say with certainty that the construction is moving along according to our deadlines and ahead of schedule in certain cases," Sheremetyevo's chief executive Mikhail Vasilenko told reporters. "This will allow us to have all the necessary infrastructure for the World Cup so that the country's guests feel at ease."

Sheremetyevo's expansion, which is mostly funded by private money, is expected to raise the airport's capacity from 35 million to 55 million passengers per year.

The upgrade will allow the airport to handle 90 takeoffs or landings per hour, as opposed to the current 55.

As part of the investment Sheremetyevo, which serves as the hub of Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot, will be building a US$305 million terminal for domestic flights.

The new terminal will be linked to the existing ones by a railway tunnel worth US$245 million, which is being built below the runways without affecting air traffic.

A third runway, as well as a cargo facility, will also be constructed in the expansion.

Inaugurated in 1957, Sheremetyevo is set to carry more than 33 million passengers this year.

Its capacity is expected to reach 80 million passengers per year in 2026, Vasilenko said.

Russia will host the 2018 World Cup in 11 cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi.