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Pulkovo Airport Prepares for Takeoff

Published: October 16, 2013 (Issue # 1782)



  • Volunteers have the chance to get a sneak peek at the new terminal as well as find unique photo opportunities.
    Photo: Yekaterina Kuzmina / Vedomosti

  • Just a few of the 110 new passport control points at the new terminal.
    Photo: Yekaterina Kuzmina / Vedomosti

  • Airport volunteers crowd around one of the new check-in desks awaiting instructions on where to go next.
    Photo: Yekaterina Kuzmina / Vedomosti

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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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