Zhytomyr Airport revived after years of desolation

YanAir may base one of its Saab 340s in Zhytomyr (Photo by Zhylyany Airport)

Zhytomyr airport, which serves the homonymous Ukrainian city, will reopen almost five years after closure, the city mayor, Serhiy Sukhomlyn, has reported on his Facebook page, with a scan of the airport’s operating certificate attached to the status.

The certificate, issued by the Ukrainian state aviation authority on December 30, 2015, is valid for one year. It confirms that the airport is in compliance with the authority’s requirements for aircraft operations.

Zhytomyr airport, located 122 km away from Kyiv’s Zhulyany and 154 km away from Boryspil, is managed by Ukrainian airline YanAir, which was founded and registered three years ago. The carrier started reviving the airport in 2014, announcing that it would invest around $15 million into its reconstruction.

“All we have to do now is complete a few preparation procedures and receive an aviation security approval after the [New Year and Russian Orthodox Christmas] holidays,” Sukhomlyn wrote on December, 31. “In just a short while we are anticipating the first aircraft landdings at Zhytomyr.” He also described YanAir, whic is registered in Zhytomyr, as an important taxpayer and employer for the city.

The airport was taken off Ukraine’s state register of aerodromes in November 2011. In the Soviet era, it had a small apron, a passenger terminal, and a 1500-m runway, serving flights from Moscow, Leningrad [now known as St. Petersburg], Latvia’s Riga, and several local destinations. After the fall of the Soviet Union Zhytomyr’s infrastructure crumbled as the airport stopped being used by commercial airlines and mostly served the local general aviation community.

In the summer of 2014, YanAir General Director Yaroslav Ahafonov said Zhytomyr had the potential to become abusiness aviation hub due to its proximity to Kyiv, with an “excellent road connecting it” to the capital.

He also mentioned the plan to extend the runway’s length to at least 2,000 m, and build a maintenance center for the carrier’s fleet. According to the YanAir website, the airline operates two Saab 340s, three Airbus A320s, a Boeing 737-300, and a Boeing 737-400.


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