Domodedovo victim of its own success?

Successful in attracting international airlines away from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport with top notch passenger and cargo facilities, Domodedovo International Airport may fall victim to its own successes as the Russian government moves to take back portions of it.

Boasting the country’s most modern facilities, a true ‘multi-user’ attitude where all carriers are treated equal and customer service is paramount, along with parallel runways allowing simultaneous take-offs and landings are only some of the attributes that have enabled Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport to woo over carriers from its rival Sheremetyevo.

Domodedovo, privatised in 1996 and operated by the East Line Group of companies on a 75 year lease (although the runways remain under state control), was first designated Moscow’s long-range domestic airport, but has since become a popular international hub.

In fact, it has become so popular that some 13 international airlines have quit the city’s oldest airport Sheremetyevo, including the likes of BA, Swiss, Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian. Lufthansa was the latest to announce it will shift later this year.

The popularity has seen passenger numbers skyrocket from only 2.7 million in 2000 to an impressive 18.7 million in 2007. Likewise, cargo throughput has received a boost, rising 5.8 per cent in 2007 over a year earlier to 133,662 tonnes, which will likely hit 158,000 tonnes for 2008.

Currently these volumes are coming in the form of bellyhold capacity along with Russian cargo carriers, S7 Airlines, Transaero and Domodedovo airlines, along with foreign cargo carriers BA World Cargo, Alrosa and Emirates airlines. The airport is expecting an additional jump in cargo volumes when Lufthansa Cargo shifts over from Sheremetyevo later this year.