“It’s not profitable but very interesting business”

DCH group owner (head of the airport “Kharkov”) Alexander Yaroslavsky

How is airport “Kharkov” developing now? How much are your expectations met?

– Our business-plan is overfulfilled. If you look through our reports, the passenger flow has increased from 170 000 people a year to 425 000 since 2008. We are planning to come to 1 million or exceed this index.

– But Kharkov, as regional airport, has some restrictions for development…

– Kharkov airport according to Airport Consulting Vienna estimations has potential passenger flow of 4.5 million people a year. It’s including the passengers from districts within a radius of 200 km from Kharkov: Belgorodskaya, Sumskaya, Zaporozhskaya, Kharkovskaya, Poltavskaya etc. There are no good airports in these cities, that’s why all these passengers are potentially ours. What regionality are you speaking about? Nowadays we are engaging air companies and we definitely will open direct flights. Even now direct flights to the European cities, Dubai, Istanbul and others are operated daily.

– You have already engaged 2 low-cost carriers – Flydubai and Pegasus. Is it defined by paying capacity of Kharkov citizens?

–  We engage everyone who can carry the passengers wishing to fly through Kharkov airport. It doesn’t matter if it’s low-cost or classic air carriers. A person should come to the airport and gain first-class service. Everyone says that our service is the best in Ukraine. If you ask, everyone will confirm it.

– As to your plans the airport will be oriented on direct or transit passengers?

– My task is to provide minimum 1-1.5 million direct passengers per year.

– How much have you invested into the airport?

– I invested about $107.2 million into air-terminal complex. The state invested $191 million into airfield complex.

– When can these means be warranted?

– I think minimum in 17 or 20 years. I’m not in a hurry, I’m a young man.

– Is this business profitable?

– It is not very profitable but very interesting business. There isn’t such income like in oil or gas.

–  So why did you start it?

–   Not everyone has possibilities to deal with oil and gas. And also it’s my native city and I couldn’t see how people fly through this “waste-bin”.

– In summer you bought shares of the air company “Kharkov Airlines” and don’t exclude the possibility to develop this company. Do you have specific plans?

–  I can say nothing concrete now. We will lose time if we wait when “Kharkov Airlines” reach such condition which is necessary for our passengers. That’s why now we work with those companies which can provide high-quality service even now.

The interview was done by Elena Sinitsyna

Source: www.kommersant.u