Minsk airport, Belarus’ main air gateway, saw its passenger traffic numbers increase by 12.5 per cent year-on-year, reaching 5.1 million passengers in 2019. The airport has in recent years been growing steadily at double-digit rates: in 2018 it recorded a 10.3 per cent passenger traffic increase over the 2017 results, having previously seen a 20 per cent year-on-year growth in that year. In 2016, the airport served 23.2 per cent more passengers year-on-year.
Aircraft activity at Minsk also increased last year as the airport handled 28,417 movements, 8.9 per cent more than in the previous year.
Along with the bigger numbers, Minsk airport has also managed to sustain its quality performance standards. For the second consecutive year, Minsk was declared the most punctual departure and arrival point for passengers and aircraft movements in the small airports category (2.5-5 million seats), according to global statistics collected by air travel information publisher OAG. Minsk’s impressive on-time performance (OTP) last year was 93 per cent, barely unchanged from the previous year.
Last May Belarus’ primary air gateway inaugurated a second runway, one that is certified to serve all aircraft types. The new 3,700-metre strip is 60 metres wide, and is 1.8 kilometres distant from the existing parallel runway. At the same time, in combination with the renovation of the airport’s main passenger terminal, which is planned to be completed by the year-end, the airport’s capacity will be boosted to nine million passengers a year.
Minsk’s steady traffic growth has been mostly sparked by the rapid development of Belavia, the airport’s base airline. The national flag carrier has continued to expand and renovate its fleet, adding six aircraft in 2019 (two Embraer E175s and two E195s, as well as two Boeing 737-800s). The airline has also returned two older Boeing 737-300s to their lessor.
In 2020, Belavia is expecting the delivery of seven contracted Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, assuming that certification problems of the currently grounded type are overcome.
Both the national airline and the airport are keen to develop transit potential, exploiting the country’s favourable geographical location at the crossroads of major airways connecting the CIS region with Europe. The airport offers flights to 55 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and other regions.
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