Saratov's new Gagarin airport has marked the first aircraft arrival ahead of its formal opening date, after a Pobeda Boeing 737-800 touched down yesterday.

The aircraft conducted a passenger test flight from Moscow Vnukovo on 18 August, coinciding with Russia's Air Fleet Day, carrying over 100 guests including government figures.

Operating as flight DP1 the jet (VP-BQY) landed on runway 08 at about 12:15.

Saratov airport's operator SarAero-Invest, part of Airports of Regions, says it has been granted a compliance certificate, the final stage of approval before commencement of operations on 20 August.

Gagarin airport, assigned the IATA code GSV, is designed to handle both domestic and international services from aircraft up to the size of Boeing 767-300ERs.

Pobeda Gagarin arrival