Moscow gets its 4th airport

 An artist's impression of a particularly busy Ramenskoe airport. Picture:  Ramport

An artist's impression of a particularly busy Ramenskoe airport. Picture: Ramport

It has been finally confirmed that Ramenskoe airport, in the Eastern suburbs of Moscow, will become the Russian capital's fourth commercial airport.

It does not really come as a surprise, since the project has been on the table for quite some time, but it undoubtedly comes at a difficult moment, when a large share of the Russian airline industry is in distress.

This airport will be familiar to those that have attended the MAKS air show that takes place there every two years.  The facilities currently host a number of aeronautic research institutions and, as a curiosity, it has the longest runway in Europe, with a length of 5.5km.

It is good to know that Russian Railways plans to improve access to the airport with a dedicated rail connection boasting the Aeroexpress service, already in place at the capital's other three airports. To date, traveling to the MAKS air show by public transportation implied quite a long journey on a slow suburban train plus a bus connection.

The airport is managed by a subsidiary of Lithuanian company Avia Solutions, that expects around 12M passengers by the year 2019.

It is yet unclear where these numbers will come from. The economic crisis has hit the air travel market in Russia, while so far no airlines have confirmed their interest in setting base at the airport, apart from the occasional charter, like the airport's inaugural revenue service, operated by I-Fly.

According to Vedomosti, the airport is in conversations with some 20 airlines, among them Belarusian flag carrier Belavia, Russian airline Red Wings, both of them currently  flying to Domodedovo, and Aeroflot's low cost subsidiary Pobeda, that is currently based at Vnukovo airport. The article speculates the latter might make the move as the new "Rossiya" airline, that combines the remaining Aeroflot regional subsidiaries, will also move to Vnukovo, but nothing has been confirmed.

What is clear is that airport fees should be much lower than the other three airports to make this airport, that has still considerably worse land connections than the others, a viable proposition.