Italian and Turkish Developers to Construct the New Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg

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Feb. 16 – St. Petersburg’s new aviation hub Pulkovo will be expanded by Italian Astaldi together with Turkish Ictas Insaat, the airport said on its web site. The contract is worth an estimated US$1.2 billion to US$1.3 billion.

“The main criteria for choosing the general contractor were international experience in building large hubs, as well as the ability to combine European quality and service standards… with Russian norms and demands,” Sergei Edmin, chief executive, VVSS international consortium (Northern Capital Gateway LLC) said in statement.

Astaldi is the second largest Italian construction company and one of the leaders of the European developing market with an income of 2 billion euros for the last year. The company participated in the construction of the exhibition center in Milan, the underground in Rome and Warsaw, the railways in Venezuela, and the international terminal of Bucharest.

The annual income of Turkish Ictas Insaat is about 500 million euros. The company has built Antalya Airport’s two terminals and air field infrastructure, Izmir international terminal, and the regional airport of Turkish Zafera.

Construction will begin in the summer, said Alexei Chichkanov, chairman of the city authority Committee for Investments and Strategic Projects.

Russian rail monopoly Russian Railways and subsidiary Aeroexpress will invest US$444 million in a project to build a high-speed railway to link the city with the airport by 2013, Chichkanov said.

The Italian-Turkish consortium is hoping to attract St. Petersburg construction company Metrostroy and German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG as subcontractors. Investors are planning to buy the trains from Siemens.

In the summer 2009, VVSS consortium won the tender for the right to reconstruct Pulkovo, promising to invest about 1.2 billion euros in the project. In April last year, the city administration granted the company the right to manage the airport for 30 years.

The participants of VVSS are the state-run VTB (57.5 percent of consortium stock), Germany’s Fraport (35.5 percent) and Horizon Air Investments (subsidiary of Greek construction and investment conglomerate Copelouzos Group (7 percent).

By 2013, the company must construct a new 100,000-square-meter terminal, as well as a hotel, business center and parking on the airport’s grounds.

As St. Petersburg’s only airport and Russia’s fourth largest, Pulkovo served 8.4 million people in 2010. The development project is to expand the airport’s capacity to 22 million passengers.

Last September, Sergei Emdin estimated that the cost of construction would amount to about 80 percent of the project’s total cost.

“Eighty percent is too high — usually the cost of such contracts should not exceed 70 percent,” an employee of a large construction firm said to Russian daily Vedomosti.

Pulkovo’s construction cost alone will be about 500 million euros, estimated the head of another St. Petersburg construction contractor.

“This is the first example of state-and-private partnership project in Russia’s transport sector. The project is being implemented without state subsidies or guarantees. The total amount of financing Pulkovo modernization till 2013 will be around 1.2 billion euro. These arrangements will enable St. Petersburg airport to turn into a European-level air transport center,” VTB Bank CEO Andrey Kostin said to Russian news agency RIAN news.

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