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NEWS Last modified on August 13, 2013

Sochi airport prepares for Winter Olympics

Sochi International Airport is “upping its game” for the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to the chief of the press commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Kevan Gosper claims that improvements such as a new terminal, VIP complex and cranking up customer service levels ensure that the gateway will be more than ready for upcoming games.

A record $50 billion is being spent on upgrading the region’s infrastructure ahead of the games, making it the most expensive Winter Olympics in history.

"You're visiting one of the most exciting parts of the world, in terms of what's happening," says Gosper.

“Sochi International Airport is upping its game, providing speedy access to Moscow from the games sites and between the sea and mountain locations in order to attract more spectators.

“These are fierce improvements and they appear to be extending to Sochi international airport as well.” 

Airport operator, Basel Aero, invested close to $300 million on a new solar energy equipped terminal in 2010, and continues to develop it, opening a new 10-gate finger pier two months ago.

The 43,056sqft terminal and new airbridges have raised the airport’s capacity from 1,600 to 2,500 passengers per hour.

New security equipment includes over 550 intelligent video cameras covering the entire airport site, biometric systems and state-of-the-art electronic ID passes for staff.

With the 2014 Winter Paralympics set to follow in mid-March, Basel Aero claims to have introduced a number of measures and facilities to improve access for disabled passengers.

Next on the agenda is a new 4,000sqm VIP terminal that will be capable of simultaneously handling 12 private jets when it opens later this year.

“As well as increasing capacity and investing in the transport infrastructure, Basel Aero will train almost 300 personnel to help them acquire sufficient competence levels in English,” says Andrey Elinson, deputy chief executive of Basic Element, which is playing a key role in the $50 billion transformation of the Sochi region.

"The airport is one of Basel Aero’s key assets. We have been tasked with constructing the critical transport infrastructure for a world class event,” says Elinson.

"It is a project that has enabled us to demonstrate our ability to implement extremely ambitious infrastructure solutions.”

Basel Aero, a subsidiary of billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element group, currently operates four Russian airports – Anapa, Gelendzhik, Krasnodar and Sochi.

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