Aeroflot mulls Vnukovo growth as Sheremetyevo nears capacity

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Aeroflot is looking to transfer a portion of its Moscow operations to Vnukovo airport due to mounting congestion at its Sheremetyevo hub.

On 25 April, the company's board discussed development strategies at the Aeroflot Group until 2025 along with its action plan for the next five years.

A source familiar with the matter says its long-term vision and objectives have remained intact. However, the board has also made an adjustment in the carrier's operational setup.

"Taking account of existing constraints at Sheremetyevo, it has recognised the need to relocate some of Aeroflot's flights to Vnukovo," says the source.

He suggests that the decision will come into effect ahead of the winter season. The move may primarily involve services to popular resort destinations with steady passenger flows, but specifics are yet to be determined.

Vnukovo airport board chairman Vitaly Vantsev says negotiations with Aeroflot are underway and adds that details of a tentative agreement could be released after 15 May.

A spokesman for Sheremetyevo says its administration has confirmed slots assigned to Aeroflot for the entire year, but it adds: "As any other tenant carrier, it has the right to use an alternative airport."

Vnukovo already hosts a substantial portion of flights operated by Aeroflot's subsidiary Rossiya Airlines.

In a recent memorandum to the government, Aerolflot general manager Vitaly Savelyev indicated that the usage of both runways at Sheremetyevo during peak hours is approaching maximum capacity, which in turn constrains the carrier's traffic growth.

He also expressed concern that construction of a third runway at the airport is lagging behind schedule and is unlikely to be completed by mid-2015.