Pulkovo Airport Prepares for Takeoff
Published: October 16, 2013 (Issue # 1782)
On the overcast autumn morning of Oct. 8, at least 200 St. Petersburg residents arrived at the city’s Pulkovo airport knowing they would not fly off to exotic destinations.
However, the prospect of the airport as a destination did not deter them. In reality, all 200 of the people were volunteers, whose task it was to test the long-awaited new terminal of the city’s airport, now in the final stages of preparation for an early-December opening.
Cheerful students, armed with the inevitable iPads, focused adults and inspired ladies of different ages all donned reflective orange safety vests and construction helmets to explore the new terminal.
To the sound of jackhammers being used nearby, all of the participants of the test crew were given simulated flight tickets to different destinations such as Kaliningrad, Moscow, Frankfurt, Pula, Yerevan or Prague.
Having received suitcases filled with newspapers, the volunteers quickly and smoothly completed all pre-flight procedures, including security inspection, check-in, pre-flight inspection and boarding. Some of the participants received cards with a special mission developed by the company responsible for testing the new facility and played unaccompanied minors while others carried containers used to transport pets. The memo handed to all of the volunteers, however, asked participants not to simulate drunk or misbehaving passengers.
“This is our six-year-old unaccompanied minor,” a Pulkovo employee said to the women staffing the check-in desk for the Prague flight as they pointed to a young woman of 25. The girl smiled shyly and was then handed over to a staff member responsible for her care.
Many volunteers were impressed with the size of the new terminal where some of them ended up getting lost because of inadequate or missing signage.
“It’s almost like the airport in Dubai!” commented 69-year-old volunteer Nina Kuznetsova, waiting to board the flight to Prague.
“This airport also produces the impression of space thanks to its shiny metal and colossal size. I am pleased that we have it now and it will be nice to fly to St. Petersburg! Our city is worthy of such an impressive airport!” she said. Despite her advanced age, Kuznetsova is not only engaged in real estate activities but also participates in various volunteer projects.
Andrei Smirnov, a 27-year-old sales specialist who came with a friend to test the new terminal, was also impressed by the size of the building, but noted that at the moment there were not enough signs to make finding the way easy.
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