Singapore's Changi to help Vladivostok become a hub
Here's an interesting development in the Russian air transport sector and it has taken place far from Moscow, on Russia's Far East.
An international consortium with participation of Singapore's Changi airport, Basel (a Russian company that already operates several regional airports across the country) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund has purchased Vladivostok airport (IATA code VVO).
Why is this interesting?
Not because of the size of the airport, which at around 1.5M annual passengers is currently rather modest, but because of the perspectives it opens for the years to come. The idea of making of Vladivostok a regional hub seems to have gathered some strength after this deal. In fact, the investing consortium has the goal of inicreasing passenger numbers to 5 million, a rather ambitious target.
The Russian Far East has been the object of quite a few development initiatives that focus on boosting the region's links with neighbouring Asian economies, including the high-profile government-sponsored East Russia Forum.
Vladivostok is currently the base airport of Aurora, Aeroflot's own subsidiary for the Far Eastern regions of the country. This airline is the result of merging several smaller local companies. In 2013 it was subject to full reorganization, rebranding and fleet renewal programme.
The hope is that Changi's know how will bring about a qualitative and quantitative leap for Vladivostok airport and more airlines will be attracted by the combination of local business opportunities, favourable regulatory conditions (Vladivostok enjoys a special regulatory regime that includes Open Skies access for some countries) and connection within and beyond the region.
As impressive as Singapore's airport management track record is, will this be enough?