Sheremetyevo Airport to Raze Oldest Terminal in $200M Overhaul

A view of Terminal B at Sheremetyevo Airport in an undated file photo.

Sheremetyevo Airport's oldest terminal, with its signature flying-saucer-shaped waiting area, will be torn down to make way for a new $200 million facility, the airport's chief executive said Tuesday.

Terminal B, as the building is known, will be dismantled once an investor is found, although part of its infrastructure may be kept for the new terminal, CEO Mikhail Vasilenko told reporters.

Terminal B, formerly known as Sheremetyevo 1, opened in 1964 and is easily recognizable to travelers for its 1950s space-style gate area, which is connected to the main building by a passenger footbridge.

Vasilenko said negotiations were being held with potential investors for the replacement terminal, which will serve domestic flights and be able to handle more than 10 million passengers a year.

The overall airport, which has increased its number of terminals from two to six under an expansion program initiated in 2005, currently has an annual handling capacity of 35 million passengers, up from only 12 million passengers eight years ago.

Vasilenko said the expansion plans would continue with the planned opening of a third runway in 2015. The runway, which will cost an estimated 22.4 billion rubles ($728 million), will allow the airport to increase its annual capacity to 60 million to 65 million passengers, he said.

"We have the money for the construction of the third runway,” he said, in comments carried by Interfax. “We will make every effort to complete this project in 2015.”

The plans for the third runway caused an uproar last year when it became known that about 2,000 people being resettled from their homes to make way for the construction had not received any monetary compensation or been offered new homes.

Vasilenko also said Sheremetyevo might turn its smoking rooms into children's play areas under tough anti-smoking legislation passed by the State Duma earlier this year. But, he noted, other countries with even harsher anti-smoking rules still provide smoking rooms for travelers.

Meanwhile, Interfax reported Tuesday that the federal government is considering selling a stake of up to 83.4 percent in Sheremetyevo Airport this year. The report, citing a letter sent by Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in late February, said the state is looking to raise up to 35 billion rubles from the privatization sale.

The government wants the new owner to turn Moscow into a major air hub through Sheremetyevo and its crosstown sister airports, Domodedovo and Vnukovo.

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