Russia promotes Moscow airports as single global hub

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Russian politicians have revealed plans for Moscow's three main airports to be interconnected with high-speed railways and potentially serve as a single global hub.

Pyetr Katsyv, transport minister for the Moscow region, said that the Russian capital could provide a better transfer location for journeys between Europe and the Asia Pacific region than current hubs in Western Europe, such as Paris Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow.

In particular, flights between Asia Pacific and Central/Eastern Europe as well as Africa would be "shorter and more efficient", if they were directed through Moscow, he said.

This would necessitate connecting the city's three airports - Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo - with a high-speed railway system that will ensure transfer times of 50-60min.

However, as the airports already have train connections to central Moscow, it would only be necessary to link the three railway lines through a central transfer station, he said.

Passengers on connecting flights at different airports would thereby have to take a train to the central station and change to a second service to their departure airport.

Initial proposals to link London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports with a dedicated, non-stop high-speed railway line and operate the two airports as a single hub, emerged in the UK last month.

However, airlines dismissed the idea. British Airways said that it would do "absolutely nothing" to create more airport capacity.

Moscow's three main airports register around 50 million passengers in total a year. This is projected to grow to up to 70 million by 2015.

Construction of a third runway has begun at Sheremetyevo, according to Katsyv.

Domodedovo has three runways but only two of them are currently equipped with instrument landing systems. Vnukovo has two runways.