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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Team to Run Sheremetyevo

The government still hasn't found a general director for Sheremetyevo Airport, but it has found four deputy general directors to oversee the long-stalled overhaul and development of the aging complex.

Spearheading that effort will be the head of privately held aerospace group Kaskol, Sergei Nedoroslev, whom the board of the state-owned airport hired Friday to oversee strategic development.

"Our goal is to make Sheremetyevo competitive on a global scale so that passengers feel as happy there as they would at the Singapore airport and be proud of it," Nedoroslev said by telephone after the board meeting.

Nedoroslev said Transportation Minister Igor Levitin, who is also Sheremetyevo's chairman, offered him the post a week earlier and he gladly accepted, saying he welcomed the challenge.

"We will take one month to analyze the situation and will work closely with Aeroflot," the airport's anchor tenant, he said. "There's little time. I am starting 9 a.m. Monday."

Of the four new executives, only Nedoroslev is well-known in the aviation business. His company owns stakes in the Nizhny Novgorod aviation plant Sokol and the cargo airline Volga-Dnepr, and has a joint engineering center with European aerospace giant Airbus.

The new deputy general director for commerce, Oleg Tolstykh, held a similar position at the small Alykel Airport in Norilsk. Vladimir Rychenko, who will handle corporate issues, runs an obscure bank called Ukhtabank. Dmitry Kalinin, who previously ran the Transportation Ministry's development and investment department, will be in charge of economy and finance.

Three current deputy general directors will keep their posts, including operations chief Yevgeny Bakhteyev, who is also acting general director.

The board wanted to bring in new talent with fresh ideas, said Federal Air Transportation Agency chief and Sheremetyevo board member Nikolai Shipil.

"Why only have famous people? Let's give people who are not that well-known a chance to realize their potential," Shipil said in an interview Saturday.

The existing terminals, Sheremetyevo-1 and Sheremetyevo-2, were built in 1959 and 1980, respectively, and have been operating at overcapacity for years. Continuous wrangling between the government, Aeroflot and airport management has kept Sheremetyevo-3 from ever getting off the drawing board.

In January, Alfa-Sheremetyevo, a unit of the powerful Alfa conglomerate, won a government tender to manage the airport, but Aeroflot is adamantly opposed to having Alfa run its hub and the tender was never ratified.

The Transportation Ministry next month will discuss a blueprint for developing the airport through 2015 that includes the construction of Sheremetyevo-3. But with such uncertainty, Sheremetyevo's board decided to move ahead with a $70 million overhaul of Sheremetyevo-2, the international terminal, to increase capacity. Work will begin next October and a tender will soon be called to select a contractor, it said.

"It will be a nightmare. We are already stretching, and the reconstruction will limit the traffic capacity," Aeroflot deputy chief Lev Koshlyakov said.

The board's decisions Friday were not welcomed by either Alfa-Sheremetyevo or National Reserve Corp., or NRK, which owns 30 percent of Aeroflot, although for different reasons.

"You cannot create a high-tech facility out of an old shed,"said NRK vice president Anatoly Danilitsky said.

"This is an interim decision. We are waiting for the government to pull up its pants and confirm that we are the managers of the airport," said Alfa-Sheremetyevo chief Igor Baranovsky.