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Vladivostok City Duma deputies will support VIA’s initiative to lift restrictions on air services in the context of the Free Port Vladivostok project

JSC “VIA” representatives attending the roundtable “Social and economic situation and development of Vladivostok City District: problems and prospects” held in the Vladivostok City Duma on February 26 came up with a proposal to seek a status of a city with no restrictions on air services for Vladivostok at the federal level.

This initiative could be implemented through inclusion of the Vladivostok airport in the Free Port Vladivostok as was earlier mentioned by media. Deputies also discussed needs of inbound tourism development in Primorsky Region and Vladivostok which may become a driver for building up air traffic between Russian Far East and Asia Pacific countries.

Vladivostok City Duma deputies supported the airport management’s proposal and promised to submit it for consideration by relevant civil aviation authority under the Russian Ministry of Transport.

The “open skies” status is already applicable in the Vladivostok airport to some international flights to/from Asia Pacific countries. However, there are restrictions in terms of the list of routes, number of airlines, flight frequency and aircraft seating capacity applicable to other routes.

The initiative proposed by Vladivostok airport management calls for granting commercial rights without restrictions to foreign air carriers for international operations between Vladivostok and airports in Asia Pacific countries in line with the third and fourth freedoms of the air.

The available experience of the “open skies” operations with South Korea is an argument in the favor of lifting restrictions on air services. All restrictions for airlines of both countries on air transport operations between Vladivostok and South Korea airports were lifted in line with the third and fourth freedoms of the air in May 2012. As a result of this, the number of flights to South Korea – Seoul, Pusan, Yangyang – has considerably grown. The number of flights has increased by nearly 50% and overall growth during 3 years has totaled 83%.

The idea to grant a free port status and special tax privileges to Vladivostok was first time made public by President Vladimir Putin in last December. Presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev spoke later about prospects for inclusion of Vladivostok airport in the free port zone. By his words, it would take three months to design a full free port concept after which this project will be reviewed by various governmental bodies.

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JSC “Vladivostok International Airport” (JSC “VIA”) is one of leaders among the Russian Far Eastern airports in terms of passenger traffic volume. It handled 1,792,000 passengers in 2014. The airport serves more than 30 routes operated by leading Russian and foreign air carriers. It is capable of receiving any aircraft types. Its runway is equipped up to ICAO category II. The level of comfort in the new passenger terminal designed for 3.5 million passengers is classified as IATA level C.

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