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St Petersburg's airport preparing for G8 summit

      RBC, 05.08.2005, Moscow 10:13:35.In preparation for next June's G8 summit that will take place in the city of St. Petersburg, the federal government has allocated nearly RUR3bn (about USD105m) for the reconstruction of St. Petersburg's Pulkovo II airport. Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov signed a decree that promised to introduce hasty measures to renovate the international airport. The federal budget will allocate RUR1.8bn for the project this year and another RUR1bn in 2006.

      The Russian Aviation Agency said the unusually high investments have been provided in order to upgrade Pulkovo II's landing strip to the III ICAO category, a standard rated by the International Civil Aviation Organization as reliable for receiving airplanes in complicated weather conditions. The upgrade will furthermore allow all types of airplanes, including latest models Airbus 380 and Boeing 787, to land at the airport. At the moment, no Russian airport can receive the new airplanes, which are about to be launched worldwide.

      Meanwhile, only one lane at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow is classified as meeting the III ICAO standard, whereas the capital's Domodedovo airport plans to be granted the qualification by the beginning of next year. In 2004, Pulkovo served 4.3m passengers, becoming the country's third-busiest airport after Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo. The air enterprise earned RUR250m (around USD8.7m) in profit last year.

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