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THIRD RUNWAY IN DOMODEDOVO

Yesterday, April 16, 2012, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov held a meeting on infrastructure development at Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo. Among those present were officials of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Federal Air Transport Agency, as well as top managers of both airports.

The audience noted the lack of budget funds for the construction of runways at both airports, said two sources familiar with the meeting, and confirmed a source close to Domodedovo. Sheremetyevo lacks 18 billion rubles. (in the budget 12.4 billion for runway-3), Domodedovo - 33 billion rubles. (in the budget only 14 billion rubles), says a person familiar with the course of the meeting with Shuvalov.

"Additional funding from the federal budget is impossible, you need to look for private money", he adds. Therefore, the airports were offered to finance the construction of the infrastructure themselves. And since this property is not subject to privatization, the runways built will then be transferred by the state on a concession to airports, said another source familiar with the details of the meeting.However, this is “so far only a proposal, no final decisions have been made yet,” adds Vedomosti's source. However, he makes a reservation that the Ministry of Finance and both airports support this idea. This is an interesting proposal, says a Domodedovo employee.

A representative of the Shuvalov administration confirmed the fact of the meeting: "All funds prescribed in the budget will be brought to the airports, the rest is under discussion," he said. Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo declined to comment.The dispute about where to build the third runway has been going on for more than a year. First, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed to build it at Sheremetyevo. But at the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Transport decided to support the project at Domodedovo. However, the Federal Air Transport Agency refused to coordinate it. Why the opinion of officials has changed again, Vedomosti's interlocutors do not say.The decision to transfer airport infrastructure to a concession should be made by the government, believes Alexander Dolgov, partner of Gide Loyrette Nouel. “It is too early to talk about any position of the government. This is a crude question”, said Dmitry Peskov, the prime minister’s press secretary. 

State ownership of the airport infrastructure is an anachronism, says Aleksey Sinitsky, editor-in-chief of Aviatransportny Obozreniye. This hinders the development of airports, because the reconstruction of the strip or the construction of a new one always has to be coordinated with the state. The option with a concession is a good way out of the situation, which can become a transitional stage to the complete abolition of this norm, the expert thinks.