The airport of Saint-Petersburg is Russia’s fourth airport in passenger traffic and is the largest airport of the country, second only to Moscow’s aviation hub. In 2019 Pulkovo provided services to a record number of about 20 mn passengers.
The reconstruction of the airport started in 2010, when the Public-Private Partnership Agreement (PPPA) was executed, and “Northern Capital gateway” (NCG) international consortium of investors started its activities. This was Russia’s first PPP project in the airport industry and a first major PPP project in the transport sector.
VTB Capital participated in the project of Pulkovo Airport reconstruction both as a major co-investor in the project and an exclusive financial consultant. The complete financing volume of the project amounted to EUR 1,2 bn, and all funds were sourced from private investors: about EUR700 mn were raised as long-term loans from 13 international financial institutions and commercial banks (including EBRD, IFC, VEB, Eurasian Development Bank, Unicredit, Standard Bank etc.), and about EUR500 mn as own investments of NCG shareholders, including about EUR300 mn from VTB Group. The project was implemented without any subsidies or budget support from the government. Moreover, under the PPP Agreement NCG is required to pay to the city of Saint-Petersburg an annual fee in the amount of 11,5% of the airport’s revenue.
The first phase of Pulkovo reconstruction and development project was implemented in 2010-2014. A new passenger terminal was built, the former Pulkovo-1 terminal building was reconstructed and expanded, a large-scale airport infrastructure upgrade was carried out, a hotel, a business center and a two-level ramp for access to the centralized terminal were built at the landslide area, a parking area was constructed.
It is expected that over the next 10 years the passenger traffic at Pulkovo may increase by more than 70%. Accordingly, this will require further NCG investments into the second phase of the airport development and expansion.
NCG as the operator of Pulkovo Airport is also responsible for development of international and domestic flights, expansion of the product offer and the route network of the airport, improvement of ease of travel to Saint-Petersburg and compliance with high international level of services to all users of the airport – from passengers to airlines.
The Pulkovo Airport reconstruction and development project received many prestigious awards by leading international financial and industry media: Infrastructure Journal, Project Finance (Euromoney), Infrastructure Investor, EMEA Finance etc. The project and the design of the new passenger terminal of Pulkovo Airport won many international contests, including Structural Awards 2014 and Business Travel Awards 2016 by Entrepreneur Magazine.
The high level of passenger services at Pulkovo Airport was commended by the Airport Council International multiple times.
Pulkovo Airport twice won the award for airline marketing Routes Europe Marketing Awards in “European airports with passenger traffic of 4-20 mn passengers per year” category.
Under the national award “Russia’s Air Gateway” passengers named Pulkovo the best and the most comfortable airport of Russia’s largest airports four times in a row.
In 2019 Pulkovo Airport won the “Russian Wings” national award in “Airport of the year 2018 in Group 1 (over 15 mn passengers per year)” nomination.
At present NCG consortium includes such shareholders as VTB Capital, Fraport AG, Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund, RDIF, UAE Sovereign Wealth Fund.