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Russian Department of Transportation doubts Koltsovo airport needs third runway

Governor of Sverdlovsk Region Eduard Rossel and Igor Levitin, Minister for Transportation, met on February 9, 2007 to discuss the transportation network development in the region. According to the spokesperson for the Governor, there was some heated debate about the need for the third runway in Koltsovo airport. Koltsovo’s General Director Mikhail Maximov reported that the company had invested 140 million RUR in the airport reconstruction in 2006 and was going to spend another 160 million in 2007. He said the management had two projects, one providing for the construction of a 3,900-meter-long runway at the cost of 16.8 billion RUR, the other one at the cost of 18.9 billion. The runway itself would cost about 7 billion to build; the rest of the sum would cover expenses occasioned by moving the existing highways, the gas main, the railway, and the power lines. A number of experts from the Russian Federation Department of Transport and from other federal authorities said they were not sure Koltsovo actually needed to start the third runway and suggested improving the existing ones first. Governor Eduard Rossel and Petr Latyshev, Plenipotentiary Representative of Russian Federation President in Ural Federal District, found the proposal difficult to agree to. They said Yekaterinburg acquired a more important status as the prospective host of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, so it had to eliminate all the transportation problems prior to the event. During the summit, Koltsovo is expected to service 120 to 130 airplanes at a time, and the third runway is estimated to raise the airport’s capacity by 50%.
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