Vladivostok Airport gateway plans move forward

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Vladivostok Airport has gained fifth freedom traffic rights in support of efforts to develop it as the gateway to Far East Russia.

In a letter to the airport authority, the transport ministry's state policy department gave it the green light for talks with foreign carriers interested in flying beyond Vladivostok.

Airport general manager Maksim Chetverikov said: "Allowing foreign airlines to fly with a transit stop here is a first step towards implementing an open skies policy. No doubt, this affords ample opportunities to us. We hope to see benefits from them next summer."

By estimates, the exercise of fifth freedom rights could help Vladivostok Airport to increase passenger throughput by 1-5 million, up from 1.2 million in 2010.

The move follows a government decision to modernise the airport ahead of the Asia Pacific summit to be held in the city in 2012 with a view to creating a major international hub.

To date, up to Rb18 billion ($600 million) has been invested in the new terminal, runway and other infrastructural improvements, with Rb8 billion allocated for the construction of a high-speed rail link.