Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allowed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport to receive superheavy jets Boeing 747 and Antonov An-124-100, the airport reported. The move is to facilitate cargo transportation in this Far East region in the first place.
Prior to the aircraft list expansion the airport runway was partially reconstructed during May – November 2016. The works affected a 2200-meter long section of the runway which length totals 3400 meters. The section had its surface reinforced using high-density airdrome-type concrete with polymer additives. According to the airport representative, the surface type will last for 10 years, after that the runway will be overhauled. The new surface is capable to serve all types of aircraft except Airbus A380. Moreover the runway was widened from 45 to 60 meters.
To gain license for heavier aircraft the airport also received new lighting facilities as well. In January, 2017 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport reported commissioning the lighting navigational aids system with high intensity lights which replaced the less efficient system with low-intensity lights. With the new system installed the airport can receive aircraft according to the Cat I ICAO. The airport is expected to receive an upgraded version of the system later this year which will allow it to serve aircraft according to the Cat II ICAO
The airport representative mentioned that the affiliated cargo airlines Volga-Dnepr and AirBridgeCargo showed a strong interest to perform flights to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The companies operate Boeing 747 и An-124 freighters which are irreplaceable while transporting heavy oil and gas machinery and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is the most convenient point to do so. The airport has already been able to receive An-124 however the flights were performed using only single licenses.
As far as passenger transportation is concerned, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport representatives are speaking about two options including Rossiya airline Boeing 747 flights (now operating less capacious Boeing 777 from Vnukovo). The second option calls for foreign airlines’ technical landings flying between the US and South-East Asia including refueling and possibly maintenance in the future.
In the first half of 2017 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport served 430.8 thousand passengers (0.9% more than the year before).