Irkutsk Airport, in Russia’s Eastern Siberia, has completed reconstruction of its runway and now resumes normal 24-hour operations without restrictions.
The central 900 meter long section of the runway has been under reconstruction since May 15, following pilots’ complaints regarding the quality of the pavement. At the same time, two taxiways adjacent to the runway were renovated. The quality of the runway surface, particularly its elastic properties and temperature resistance has improved significantly due to the use of modified polymers, the airport reported in a statement.
During the reconstruction, the airport could accomodate aircraft from midnight to 01.00 pm, only.
The cost of the reconstruction, 390.9 million rubles ($5.92 million), was covered by the airport itself. The last reconstruction of the 3,565 m by 45 m runway was in 2011, but further modernization was not accomplished due to lack of federal financing.
Despite of the time restrictions imposed by the reconstruction work, traffic at Irkutsk almost doubled in June. “In May the airport served in average 3,500 passengers daily, but in June that figure reached 6,000,” an airport spokesperson said. The airport has now the capacity to handle even more growth. Seven new destinations will be opened in July, the spokesperson said.
Runway reconstruction is one of the projects realized by the airport after it changed hands. Formerly owned by the federal government, it is now in the hands of the regional administration. There are plans to build another airport next to Irkutsk, as the existing airport has limitations to its capacity and development prospects due to its location inside the city.
According to the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA), in the first quarter of this year Irkutsk occupied 19th position among Russian airports in terms of traffic. From January through March it served 312,600 passengers, down 4.3% YOY.
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