Origins of Ukrainian civil aviation

History of Ukrainian civil aviation starts in our city. In Kharkiv on 26 March 1923 joint-stock society “Ukrvozduhput” was founded. On 25 March 1924 first passenger flights of “Ukrvozduhput” were opened: Kharkiv – Poltava – Kiev and Kharkiv – Kirovograd – Odessa. Ground runway situated then in the northern end of the city behind the city park in Sokolniki. Now aircraft factory is in its place. In 1928 first international flights to Teheran were opened in Kharkiv.

Pre-war years

Aircraft factory in the name of Council of Peoples Commissars was organized on the base of aircraft workshops of “Ukrvozduhput”. Development of production of aircraft in Sokolniki demanded a new place for civil airport. A place was chosen 12 kilometers south from the center of the city behind Osnova community. New airport started operations on 6 December 1932. The airport complex consisted of ground runway, two-storeyed building and other ground services. In august 1933 airport was given a name of P.P. Postyshev and in 1936 was acknowledged as the best airport in USSR. During pre-war years transit flights travelling from Moscow and Leningrad to Crimea and Caucasus landed in Kharkiv. The biggest passenger aircraft of that time, six – motored giant P-124 (ANT-20bis) landed here. It was carrying passengers on the route Moscow – Kharkiv – Mineral Waters. Airport was an independent self-supporting organization and was directly subordinated to the Head administration of civil aviation. In 1941 concrete runway was built. From the beginning of The Great Patriotic War all employees of the airport became members of the Kiev and Kharkiv special airgroups of Civil Airfleet.

The Great Patriotic War

In 1940-1941 two concrete 1000 meters long and 80 meters wide runways, steering pathways, aircraft parking places made of concrete and bricks, storages and two metal hangars were built. Airport was equipped with radiobeacon. During the war airport was severely damaged. Runways, steering pathways and parking places were not in the usable state. The research made afterwards says that there were 2-3 shell-holes on every 100 meters. The airport building and the hangars were destroyed too.


Post-war years

The existing airport building was developed after the war based on the typical project made by Moscow research institute (Elkin G., Krukov G., Mitkevich G.). The same project was used in Lviv, Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg), Cheliabinsk and other cities of the USSR. Construction of the aiport building began in 1951 and its opening was dated to pompous celebration of the 300th anniversary of Russia and Ukraine reunion (1954). In 1958 a trolleybus line was laid from the centre of the city to the airport.

The exterior of the airport building is remarkable for its magnificence characteristic for the stalinistic architecture of 30’s – 50’s. The central entrance is decorated with eight column portico with high parapet with complicated shape. Above the building is an elegant octahedral tower with hipped roof and spire with golden wreath The interiors are heavily decorated with moulded architectural details and paintings.


Golden age

By the beginning of the 70’s Kharkiv airport served 600,000 passengers a year and in 10 years this number rose to 900,000. At the same time city was growing larger and came close to the airport. Due to this reason a construction of the new airport near Polevaya (30 km from Kharkiv) was prescribed in the Master plan of the city. Aircraft factories were supposed to move to the same place in perspective. Project of the new airport was developed by “Ukraeroproekt” instititute and of the airport building by “Ukrgorstrojproekt”. There were plans to connect new airport with the city by highway. In the late 80’s construction of the new runway was started, but work stopped when USSR collapsed.


Post-soviet period

Volumes of flights in the existing airport fell by dozens of times in the beginning of the 90’s. At the same time, a serious problem arised for Kharkiv airport because of absence of customs and passport control. They were not there due to the fact that during USSR Kharkiv airport never served international flights. In 1995 a reconstruction of the airport building was made, including creation of the customs and border controls. Runway was reconstructed as well, which allowed airport to run the flights on Il-76. In 2001 airport overlooking organization was switched from Ministry of Transport to municipal government. A new commune enterprise International airport “Kharkiv” was created.


Our days

In 2008 all complex of Kharkiv airport was leased for 49 years to the company “New Systems AM”, which is a part of DCH investment group. As a strategic object, airport runway is owned by the state. Airport Consulting Vienna (Austria) and Airport Research Center (Germany) developed a project for massive reconstruction of Kharkiv airport, implementation of which started in the second half of 2008.


On August 28, 2010 new modern passenger terminal of 20000 sq.m with an acceptance rate of 650 passengers per hour, was opened for operating departures and arrivals of all domestic and international flights. For the first time in history of the airport passenger loading bridges were installed, which allowed passengers to board the plane and deplane right from the airport terminal without the need to go outside. The old airport building was reconstructed and transformed into terminal for VIP-passengers. Style of Stalinism was kept in terminal, “Polet” restaurant was opened on its territory, which is decorated in the style of the 50s. In addition, hangar, which includes 3 sections for private airplanes and maintenance of aircrafts, was built.


New airport runway with length of 2500 meters was put into service in 2011, which can accommodate all types of medium-range airplanes and a few types of long-range aircrafts without any limitations. Runway is equipped according to Category II of ICAO which allows airport “Kharkiv” to accommodate airplanes in bad weather.


In 2012 airport “Kharkiv” successfully ensured flight operation of football teams and fans during the European Football Championship Euro-2012. Some days the airport traffic was so busy that surface of an old runway was used for airplane parking.

In August 2013, the airport successfully accommodated AN-124 “Ruslan” which has the largest gross weight of 392 tones among the airplanes, which Kharkiv airport has ever accommodated.

In 2016 the airport “Kharkiv” brought service to almost 600 000,00 passengers. Based on the results of 6 months of 2017, passenger flow increased to 51%, number of serviced passengers 364 thousand. As of now, such big airline companies as Ukraine International Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, LOT, Belavia carry out flights to the airport “Kharkiv”, which provide passengers with an opportunity to make direct flights anywhere in the world from Kharkiv, as well as convenient connections in the biggest hub airports.