Vnukovo International Airport
|Vnukovo International Airport
Международный аэропорт Внуково
|IATA: VKO – ICAO: UUWW|
|Operator||JSC "Vnukovo Airport"|
|Elevation AMSL||209 m / 686 ft|
Vnukovo International Airport (Russian: Международный аэропорт Внуково; IPA: [ˈvnukəvə]) (IATA: VKO, ICAO: UUWW), is a dual runway international airport located 28 kilometres (17 mi) southwest from the centre of Moscow, Russia. It is one of the three major airports that serve Moscow, along with the Domodedovo International Airport and the Sheremetyevo International Airport. In 2015, the airport handled 15.82 million passengers, representing an increase of 24% compared to the previous year. It is the third busiest airport in Russia.
Vnukovo is Moscow's oldest operating airport. It was opened and used for military operations during the Second World War, but became a civilian facility after the war. Its construction was approved by the Soviet government in 1937, because the older Khodynka Aerodrome (located much closer to the city centre, but closed by the 1980s) was becoming overloaded. Vnukovo was opened on 1 July 1941. During the Great Patriotic War, it was used as a military airbase; passenger services started after the war.
On 4 November 1957, a plane carrying Romanian Workers' Party officials, including the most prominent politicians of Communist Romania (Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Chivu Stoica, Alexandru Moghioroş, Ştefan Voitec, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Leonte Răutu, and Grigore Preoteasa), was involved in an accident at Vnukovo Airport. Preoteasa, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, was killed, as was the aircraft's crew. Several others were seriously injured.
The first passenger flights of the IL-18 (Moscow to Alma-Ata on 20 April 1956) and Tu-114 (Moscow to Khabarovsk on 24 April 1961) were also made from Vnukovo Airport. In 1980, Vnukovo was expanded because of the 22nd Summer Olympic Games. In 1993, Vnukovo Airport became a joint-stock company.
A massive reconstruction and strategic development programme commenced at Vnukovo International in late 2003, following the transfer by the Federal Government of the controlling stake in the airport to the Government of Moscow.
As part of the Airport Strategic Development Plan, the following projects were completed between 2003 and 2005:
- April 2004: New Terminal B was opened. The terminal currently handles international passengers. But in the future, it will be converted to handle domestic flights or to fulfill any other dedicated functions to be determined at a later date. The terminal's total floor space offering stands at 80,000 sq m, allowing for an annual passenger throughput capacity of four million.
- August 2005: Vnukovo's Aeroexpress rail link to Kiyevsky Rail Terminal was opened.
- December 2010: New Terminal A was opened.
Vnukovo is Europe's busiest airport for international flights by larger private planes.
Location and capacity
Of the three Moscow airports, Vnukovo is the highest (204 m above sea level). Hence, in case of fog, it has frequently served as an alternative airport.
The airfield has two intersecting runways of 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) and 3,060 metres (10,040 ft) in length. Each runway is 60 metres (200 ft) wide, with 10 m wide safety shoulders on each side. The joint runway capacity is 60 aircraft movements per hour.
The airport has two passenger terminals (Terminal A and Terminal B), one general aviation terminal (for charter and business flights), one cargo terminal, and 60 aircraft stands.
The airport can handle a maximum of 10,100 passengers per hour, and 4,000 people are employed there. In 2013, the airport handled almost 11.18 million passengers, representing a 15.3% increase compared to 2012. In February 2014 the airport handled 722,500 passengers, an increase of 23.8% compared to February 2013, partly attributed to expansion by UTair Aviation.
Vnukovo Airport is equipped with a VIP hall, which is used by many political leaders and important people visiting Russia. The Russian President also uses Vnukovo's VIP facility.
The Tupolev airliner rework facility is located at the edge of the airport, and major overhaul and modification programmes are carried out in several large aircraft hangars.
On the northern perimeter of the airport, the government VIP transport wing is located, operating head-of-state flights for high-ranking government officials. Thus, the airport is occasionally closed for regular flights when VIP flights arrive or depart.
The prospective development programme is intended to last until the year 2015, and is aimed at transforming Vnukovo International into a highly competitive air transportation hub of international significance – one that would offer a comprehensive range of quality services to both its passengers and its tenant carriers.
A new international passenger Terminal A will have a total floor space of 250,000 sq. m and passenger throughput capacity of 7,800 passengers per hour, making a total capacity of 18–20 million passengers annually. This will open up a plethora of opportunities for the tenant airlines to expand and radically improve the quality of their customer service at the airport, and ensure the introduction of international-quality service and comfort overall. The sprawling terminal building will be located on the site of the existing domestic passenger terminal, and will also serve as a springboard for the subsequent development of the entire adjacent landside area both next to the terminal and further out towards Vnukovo Settlement. The oldest of the Vnukovo passenger terminals, dating back to 1941, will be demolished by the time construction of the new one goes ahead (it started to be dismantled in November 2005). The existing Domestic Terminal 2, built in the late 1970s, will continue in operation until its eventual demolition during the final phase of construction and replacement with the new terminal.
The expansion plans include lengthening one of the two V-configured runways (3,000 m and 3,060 m long) to 3,800 m and upgrading the instrument landing system from the present CAT II to CAT III. The existing taxiways are to be extended as part of the expansion and new ones will also be built, along with a brand new control tower, an extension to the cargo terminal, and a multistory car park.
Terminal A is used both for domestic and international flights and Terminal D is used for domestic arrivals from North Caucasus only. Terminal B is out of service as of August 2016.
Airlines and destinations
Aeroexpress direct line connects Vnukovo Airport and Kiyevsky Rail Terminal in Moscow city centre was opened on August 2005. One-way journey costs 470 rubles (420 rubles for online purchase) (as of February 2016). The journey takes 35 minutes.
Moscow city can be reached by the municipal Mosgortrans bus lines: 611 - reaches two consecutive stations (Troparyovo and Yugo-Zapadnaya) of Moscow Metro Sokolnicheskaya Line, 611k (Russian: 611к) reaches only the nearest Salaryevo station of Moscow Metro Sokolnicheskaya Line, but avoids the often congested crossing with MKAD road; nearby Rumyantsevo station is only easily accessible on the way to the airport, not away from it. The fare is 50 rubles (as of September, 2016; eq. to 0.77 US$), travel time 20-35 min. by schedule.
Private marshrutka line 45 also serves this direction. One-way journey costs 150 rubles (as of February 2016; eq. to 2 US$). Due to heavy traffic in Moscow, journey takes 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Several taxi services to Moscow city and suburbs are available at the airport. Uber, Gett, Yandex.Taxi and local E-hailing applications may be used and may offer flat rate trips to anywhere in Moscow.
Accidents and incidents
- On 3 January 1976, Aeroflot Flight 2003, a Tupolev Tu-124, crashed 7 km (4.3 mi) west of Vnukovo Airport after both artificial horizons failed in IMC.
- On 17 March 1979, Aeroflot Flight 1691 crashed 1.5 kilometres away from the runway while attempting to return to the airport.
- On 16 January 2010, UTair Aviation Boeing 737-500 VQ-BAC departed the runway on landing and was substantially damaged when the nosewheel collapsed.
- On 4 December 2010, South East Airlines Flight 372, which had departed from Vnukovo, lost power to all of its engines and made an emergency landing at Domodedovo International Airport. Upon landing, the plane overshot the runway, resulting in a crash and the death of two of the 168 passengers and crew.
- On 29 December 2012, a Red Wings TU-204 overran the runway. The aircraft burst into flames and broke into three pieces. At least five people were killed.
- On 20 October 2014, at 23:57 MSK: 2014 Falcon 50 Vnukovo ground collision: a Dassault Falcon 50 business jet heading to Paris caught fire and exploded during takeoff after colliding with a snow removal vehicle, killing four, including three crew members (Yann Pican, Maxime Rassiat and Ruslana Vervelle) and CEO of Total S.A. oil and gas company Christophe de Margerie on board. Alcohol presence was confirmed in the blood of the driver of the vehicle on the ground. Elena Krylova, head of the press service at the airport, stated that a fire broke out after the collision, but there was no explosion. The fire was quickly extinguished by the services of the airport. Krylova said that the plane did not manage to take off. Russian transport official Tatyana Morozova stated that a criminal investigation has been opened into the violation of safety regulations after the crash and that an investigative group is also working at the crash site. After further investigation, it appears that the snow removal vehicle got left behind of its convoy because the driver was checking something. When the aircraft engaged its takeoff, the vehicle was still in the middle of the runway, with a long pipe raised above itsroof (used to eject the snow out of the runway). The aircraft managed to slightly takeoff when the pilot saw the vehicle, but it was too late (night + low visibility + snow + high takeoff speed). The aircraft wasn't high enough when it reached the vehicle and the raised pipe cut one of the wings off. The aircraft instantly lost its balance and crashed, killing all on board upon impact. Fully loaded in jet fuel, it burst into flame when it crashed. The vehicle driver had been drinking and did not realized he was on the runway when he stopped.
- Domodedovo International Airport
- Sheremetyevo International Airport
- List of the busiest airports in Russia
- List of the busiest airports in the former USSR
- List of the busiest airports in Europe
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- Airport information for VKO at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
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Media related to Vnukovo International Airport at Wikimedia Commons