Parallel take-offs give Moscow’s Domodedovo extra edge against Sheremetyevo


Moscow Domodedovo airport began parallel runway take-offs last month, giving the privately-owned Russian gateway a further opportunity to increase its share of traffic in the Moscow area, where state-owned Sheremetyevo is its main rival.

Simultaneous parallel departures from two independent runways started on 17 December thanks to a reconstructed Runway 1 and a revamped technology infrastructure in line with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards. The runways are two kilometres apart.

Simultaneous parallel departures give Domodedovo, owned by East Line Group, significantly increased capacity and will improve punctuality of flights. Moscow Domodedovo airport spokesperson Marina Motornaya, said: “Domodedovo provides 52 movements per hour although favourable conditions may enable up to 60 landings-departures. With simultaneous parallel departures, runway capacity will increase by up to 10 movements per hour in 2010.” This capacity has the potential to reach 90 movements per hour with air traffic control upgrades.

In the first nine months of 2009, Domodedovo carried 15.7m passengers (source: ACI Europe) compared to 11.1m for Sheremetyevo International (source: Sheremetyevo’s own data). Domodedovo has overtaken its rival over recent years as Russia’s top airport in terms of passenger traffic thanks to carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Swiss deserting Sheremetyevo for its rival’s more modern facilities. Domodedovo now has 80 carriers: 34 foreign airlines, 30 Russian and 16 from CIS.

Sheremetyevo is relying on its new $650m terminal D (S3) to revitalise the hub and gain back some lost share from Domodedovo. Next month, national carrier Aeroflot and its SkyTeam alliance partner airlines are expected to shift more than 100 international flights to terminal D. However, until the airport’s elusive privatisation plans get a green light there is unlikely to be the infrastructure investment needed for a third runway and for further terminal development to entice carriers back.