Airport Consolidation Moving Forward

The government will announce a tender before the end of the month to select an independent foreign consultant to develop a strategy to consolidate state assets in Moscow's airports.

The government intends to unite Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports and give them a runway at Domodedovo.

The state owns 82 percent of shares in Sheremetyevo, 25 percent minus one share in Vnukovo International Airport, 75 percent plus one share in Vnukovo, as well as all their runways and infrastructure and the runway and infrastructure at Domodedovo, sources including Sheremetyevo head Mikhail Vasilenko said.

The decision to consolidate state assets and engage an independent consultant was made at a meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov on April 16, Vasilenko said.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the Transportation Ministry and the Economic Development Ministry were to prepare and submit proposals for the development of the Moscow air hub by May 5.

"All the work was done on time. It was determined in the government with the proposals for the unification of the airports that a state company will be created, and its market capitalization will be about $7 billion," a federal official said.

It would be easier to attract investment to such a company than to each airport separately, a top manager at a Moscow airport said. In addition, it will allow the state to focus on the development of regional airports that require more attention, Vasilenko said.

An employee of one of Moscow's airports said that after the foreign consultant's research, an independent appraiser will be hired who will assess the state company. It will be wholly owned by the state in the first phase. Then the participation of the private shareholders in Vnukovo and Domodedovo will be considered.

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