Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport

Two Options for Resuming Airport Operations After Coronavirus

Top executives of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport are looking at two scenarios for reopening the airport as soon as possible after the coronavirus emergency ends.

According to Sheremetyevo’s chairman, Alexander Ponomarenko, the first scenario involves the resumption of international flights in July and the gradual restoration of passenger traffic until the end of this year. The second is a much more complex scenario in which the restoration of passenger traffic to the level of 2019 will be much slower and will take at least 12 months. In that case, the airport would not reach its 2019 levels until mid-2021.

Ponomarenko discussed the airport’s vigorous response to the pandemic and the prospects for resuming normal airport activity in an interview this week with Forbes Russia.

To maintain the balanced operation of the airport, Sheremetyevo temporarily closed terminals C, D and E. The airport has also significantly reduced all non-production costs, reallocated resources and optimized processes and staff work schedules.

“Professionals who need to be at their workplaces accomplish a real feat. We express a huge human gratitude to our staff serving flights in Terminal F, to doctors who meet passengers around the clock; as well as all health workers in the world, those who are now at the forefront of the struggle and risk their lives and health,” said Mr. Ponomarenko.

Most construction projects at the airport have been frozen except for the construction of the first runway, which will continue before the winter cold sets in.

Mr. Ponomarenko went on to state that the terminals would be open again soon, once the pandemic has passed. Sheremetyevo will be monitoring the situation in Europe and watching how the European nations come out of the crisis and adjust the scenarios for SVO accordingly.

“I am sure that soon the world will manage the coronavirus. Humanity will overcome this crisis and learn very important lessons. Today, despite the existing contradictions, everyone has rallied around this disaster,” Mr. Ponomarenko concluded.  “People in all countries have realized the danger facing the world, show the highest consciousness, save thousands of other lives with their self-isolation.

“The states come to the aid of each other, sending their specialists to the most infected regions, supplying them with medicines, medical equipment, exchanging experience in combating the epidemic. Human lives and health have consciously become the most precious things in this world,” he said. “And this is the guarantee that humanity will cope with any disaster.”

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