Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russia's leading airport and ranks among the major European hubs in terms of passenger traffic, number of flight operations, cargo volumes and area of the complex. Development projects and the FIFA World Cup point to a promising 2018.
Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) has been the Russian capital's international transport hub since the 1980 Olympic Games in the former Soviet Union. In 2016, it handled more than 34 million passengers, an increase of 8% over 2015, while the combined traffic elsewhere in the city has declined by around 2%.
The airport's route network includes 186 scheduled routes, served by SkyTeam, Star Alliance, Oneworld and other, non-aligned carriers. Encouraged by close collaboration with airlines, the high quality standards of the airport and ground handling services, advanced aviation security and customer response (passenger feedback), 15 new airlines started operating at SVO in 2015-16, adding more than 40 new destinations. SVO has already welcomed four new airlines and introduced eight new routes in 2017.
One of SVO's strengths as a hub for international traffic is the connection it provides between Europe and Asia, especially China. In 2016, overall traffic on routes to and from China (including Hong Kong and Macao) reached 1.6 million passengers, with two Russian and seven Chinese airlines serving more than eight destinations.
This also includes just under 600,000 transfer passengers from points in China to points in Europe - more than any other European hub. In a five-month period in 2017, passenger traffic to and from China grew by 22% compared with the same period in 2016.
Due to rapidly increasing passenger demand and the anticipated growth of passenger transport in Moscow's air cluster, SVO is carrying out some major infrastructure development work at its Northern Terminal complex that will include:
Further development will enable SVO to reach an 80-million passenger capacity by 2026. In 2018, Russia will host the FIFA World Football Cup. The majority of venues (host city stadiums, team base camps, hotels and so on) are favourably located in SVO's catchment area, which is the largest among three Moscow airports (serving 46% of the region's inhabitants).
The catchment area serves the biggest business cluster and most densely populated up-market residential area; SVO offers the easiest and quickest access to the major tourist attractions and the largest number of hotel rooms.
The present stable economic and political situation, the recovery of outbound tourism and the promotion of inbound tourism - such as 'Visit Russia' - will contribute to the planned increase of passenger traffic in Russia of 5-10% in 2017 and beyond.
Next year seems like the perfect time for airlines to launch operations to Moscow; SVO can maximise load factors and revenue from the very first flight, while offering long-standing cooperation with one of the most reliable, punctual and advanced airports in the world.