Construction of a new runway has commenced at Ukraine’s third largest airport, Odesa. The the official ceremony took place on September 8. The event has long been anticipated, as the airport hesitated to make the final decision whether to construct a new runway or repair the existing one. Restrictions posed by the runway condition are impeding to unlock the full capacity of Odesa’s newly built passenger terminal.
The new runway will be 2,800 m long, same as the existing one. There will be a new set of taxiways and ICAO Category IIIa landing equipment. Whereas the existing runway’s strength limits it to serving aircraft up to Boeing 757 and Ilyushin Il-76. The new strip will be suitable for Boeing 767 and similar sized aircraft. The date when the new runway is scheduled to become operational has not been disclosed.
The construction works started following the order of Ukraine’s government to allocate financing for the project in 2017. The total cost of the project is estimated at 1.680 million hryvna ($63.7 million), but this year the government allocated 500 million hryvna under a state program for developing Ukrainian airports within the period until 2023.
According to the airport’s ex-director Vitaliy Portyanko, finding solution to the runway problem has been a burning necessity for a long time. In particular, he mentioned the visibility restrictions in Odesa airport in the period from October until March with its typical dense fogs.
Absence of a modern runway is virtually wiping out the advantages of a freshly opened passenger terminal. It has the annual capacity of 3 million passengers. The old terminal was working at the limits of its 1-million passenger capacity. Last year it handled its millionth passenger in mid-December.
Odesa is currently Ukraine’s third largest airport after Kyiv’s two airports, Boryspil and Zhulyany. But it has a high growth potential due to an Open Sky regime in effect since 2015.
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