11 February, 2021

Sheremetyevo Airport's key role in pandemic response

Sheremetyevo has been the Russian Federation's main airport serving flights from epidemiologically unfavorable countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and adopted critical services to protect passengers and employees. The airport summed up its activities for the period on the eve of Civil Aviation Day in the Russian Federation.

Despite global anti-epidemic restrictions and a significant decrease in passenger traffic during 2020, the airport quickly adapted to work in the new realities and confirmed its status as one of the most important passenger and cargo hubs in Russia and Europe.

"Although 2020 brought many challenges, particularly for the aviation industry, Sheremetyevo nimbly responded to the adversity. We successfully implemented many changes to protect passengers and employees and to ensure the health of all who passed through the airport, and are pleased to be at the forefront of the vaccination efforts domestically and abroad," stated Sheremetyevo's Chairman of the Board of Directors Alexander Ponomarenko.

From March through September 2020, Sheremetyevo received 236 flights returning 50,000 citizens to Russia, including a special inbound flight of Royal Flight airlines from seven African countries carrying 197 Russians as well as citizens of Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The flight had been arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Sheremetyevo Airport, with the participation of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

With the outbreak of the pandemic, Sheremetyevo Airport joined with government agencies and services to develop and implement an integrated set of preventive measures designed to protect the health of passengers, guests and employees. It also took steps to optimize costs and save production resources for the prompt resumption of full-scale operational activities once restrictions on international traffic were removed and domestic and international flights began to return to their pre-pandemic levels.   

Sheremetyevo currently offers the following pandemic-related services at the airport for passengers:

The world's first rapid testing for COVID-19, launched on the eve of the resumption of regular international flights in cooperation with RDIF
A vaccination station administering vaccines to the public at the airport, begun in January 2021
Sheremetyevo Airport continues to implement anti-epidemic measures on a full scale. The effectiveness of these measures has been confirmed by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Federal Air Transport Agency, Rospotrebnadzor and the Government for Moscow Region.

In 2020, Sheremetyevo Airport strengthened its position as the largest cargo air hub in Russia, with a 70% share in the Moscow Air Transportation Cluster market. This was despite a significant reduction in flights by passenger airlines. The airport's cargo operator, Moscow Cargo LLC, was able to offset the decrease in scheduled passenger flights by working closely with cargo airlines and attracting new air carriers operating cargo charter flights.

In 2020, a significant part of Sheremetyevo's cargo turnover consisted of medical goods. At the end of the year, Moscow Cargo LLC handled about 20,000 tons of medical cargo carried on international airlines, which is almost 70% more than in 2019. Since November 2020, the Moscow Cargo terminal has been handling the shipments of Sputnik V, the first Russian vaccine against coronavirus, both in Russia and abroad, including to Hungary, Serbia, Egypt and  Argentina. Modern infrastructure, the presence of an extensive fleet of special apron equipment and Moscow Cargo's extensive experience in handling pharmaceuticals were critical factors in Moscow Cargo's careful handling of the vaccine.

Sheremetyevo Airport handled various categories of cargo in 2020 in addition to the Sputnik V vaccine, including other non-standard cargo requiring special conditions for transportation and storage. This cargo included other medical cargo such as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and batches of personal protective equipment.

On September 3, Moscow Cargo handled and shipped equipment for complex tests of the Nauka multifunctional laboratory module (MLM) to the Baikonur cosmodrome by a special flight. The unique equipment was carried on an AN-124-100 Ruslan cargo plane of Volga-Dnepr Airline.

Also in September, Moscow Cargo delivered special equipment for servicing aircraft to the organizers of the Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2020 to Sochi on an AirBridgeCargo Airline flight. With the help of specialized 10- and 20-foot carts, the airport optimized the process of loading and unloading the racecars, escort vehicles and additional equipment with a total weight of more than 800 tons.

In November, Moscow Cargo handled shipment of Rรฉmbrรกndt Hรกrmenszoon van Rijn's painting The Expulsion of Merchants from the Temple, which arrived in Moscow by flight from London after being shown at the Young Rembrandt exhibition.

On December 23, Moscow Cargo handled the first large batch of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, weighing more than nine tons, intended for the vaccination of doctors in Argentina. The cargo was delivered on a special charter flight of Aerolรญneas Argentinas. The air carrier had not previously operated flights to Sheremetyevo and chose the Moscow Cargo terminal based on the recommendations of professional market participants who regularly ship pharmaceutical cargo through Sheremetyevo.

Sheremetyevo Airport is among the TOP-5 airport hubs in Europe, the largest Russian airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic. In 2020, the airport served 19 million 784 thousand passengers.

Sheremetyevo is the best airport in terms of quality of services in Europe, the absolute world leader in punctuality of flights, the recipient of the highest 5-star Skytrax rating.

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