The co-owner of “UkrSib” Aleksandr Yaroslavskyy will undertake the reconstruction of the Kharkiv airport. Yesterday, the mayor of Kharkiv, Mikhail Dobkin said that the businessman intends to invest about $ 200 million in reconstruction of international airport “Kharkiv”, as well as purchase airline “Kharkiv Airlines”. As Mr. Yaroslavsky told Kommersant, his company really intends to reconstruct the airport and within five years to increase passenger traffic by 15 times – up to 1,5 million people a year.

International airport “Kharkiv” was opened in 1932 and then was called the “Airport “Osnova”. In 1998, the company AIRLINES Kharkiv was excluded from the airport. In April 2001 the airport was handed over to the communal property of the territorial community of Kharkiv. The airport has asphalt runway length of 2,22 thousand square meters that can receive aircrafts of type “AN”, “IL”, “Tu” and “Yak.” The last renovation was accomplished in 1995. passenger traffic in 2006 grew by 44 , 8%, to almost 100 thousand people. Revenues totaled $ 12.2 million, expences – $ 11.53 million. Kharkiv Airlines is based in the airport.

Kharkiv Mayor, Mikhail Dobkin told Kommersant that the city council offered to co-owner of “UkrSib” Aleksandr Yaroslavskyy to develop the project of reconstruction of Kharkiv airport. “By the time of Euro 2012, we need a normal airport,” – explained Mr. Dobkin. According to him, in the case of approval of the project, Mr. Yaroslavskyy after the implementation of the project will be the owner of real estate. “At the session of the City Council on July 3 the design right of way near the airport was allowed to Mr. Yaroslavskyy`s company – it was the first step, followed by the allocation of land,” – said a Kommersant source in city hall.

Aleksandr Yaroslavskyy was not the only contender for the holding of reconstruction of the Kharkiv airport. Earlier, Russian transport industry group MRP, which is co-owner of airports in Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Chelyabinsk told about its interest in the project (see Kommersant of 21 June). In addition, the mayor of Kharkiv declared, that some Czech company is ready to invest the reconstruction of the airport.

Mr Yaroslavsky told Kommersant that his company will independently develop the airport and does not intend to create a joint venture with Russian investors: “Let them develop in their own, and we`ll do it without them.” According to Mikhail Dobkin, during the planned airport expansion is expected to lengthen by 240 m and renovate of the existing runway, which will take aircraft such as Boeing and Airbus, to build a passenger terminal, and install additional navigational aids.

The entrepreneur also intends to purchase an airline based at the airport: “I will definitely buy “Kharkiv Airlines”. As a businessman I say: the cheaper, the more I will put in its development.” According to Mr. Yaroslavsky, subject to necessary investments for three to five years, ridership would increase in 15 times – from the current 100 thousand people per year to 1.5 million people a year. “About 400 aircrafts fly every day 7 to 15 thousand feet high. Some of them we’re going to get through Kharkiv”, – said Aleksandr Yaroslavskyy.

Still, experts estimate these plans with skepticism. Thus, the general director of consulting company Infomost Boris Rybak doubt that the future growth of passenger traffic will continue: “The mobility of the population in the region is low, most likely, growth will not exceed 8-12 percent per year. And according to a senior partner of the company “Ilyashev and partners” (a legal adviser to the aviation committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Transport and Communications) Roman Marchenko, in order to achieve the increase in air traffic in Kharkiv, you must have at least one airline with a strong network of routes, to be based in the city. “Right now there are none, and the revival of unprofitable Kharkiv airlines will cost Yaroslavskyy more than 200 million dollars – he said. – it is not improbable that the project aims to obtain land near the airport, which can be successfully built up.”