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CHISINAU (Moldova), March 20 (SeeNews) - The operator of Chisinau International Airport, Avia Invest, said on Monday it plans to build a second runway by the end of May 2018 under a 16 million euro ($17.2 million) investment project.
The two companies selected to build the new runway are Moldova's construction group Exfactor and Austria's Strabag Group.
The company has decided to build the backup runway in order to work on the renovation of the main runway without interrupting airport operations, Avia Invest said in a press release.
Renovation works of the main runway began in 2016. In the autumn, Avia Invest finished upgrading the first section of one kilometer.
"In order to continue the renovation works, we would have needed to cease all operations on the airport, at night, for 10-12 hours, for about 4-6 months. This would have been an impediment and would have created considerable discomfort for the airlines operating flights here," Avia Invest said.
At the moment, the airport suspends all flights every night for 5-6 hours for maintenance works on the main runway.
"With the construction of the second runway, we will no longer need to close the airport, not even for an hour. This will allow companies not to stop their activity, providing 24/7 air traffic, without restrictions. We will also avoid any problems related to flight safety," Avia Invest director Petru Jardan said.
The backup runway will be 2,400 meters long and 45 meters wide and the necessary funding for it will come from investors as well as from the airport's own operating revenues.
After completion of the backup runway, expected in May 2018, flights will be diverted to it, and Avia will proceed with the reconstruction of the main runway.
According to the company, the existence of the new runway will be a competitive advantage for Chisinau Airport, as it will attract more airlines. The new runway, unlike the existing one, will be able to regularly receive aircraft of any type.
"Not every aircraft can operate based on the main runway we have now, at least not regularly. The runway does not have this degree of resistance to receive heavy aircraft on a regular basis, but only once a month," Jardan added.
In the autumn of 2015, Avia Invest expanded Chisinau Airport's terminal by 3,860 sq m and doubled its capacity to 750 passengers per hour.
In 2016, Chisinau International Airport serviced 2.77 million passengers, up 25% on the year.
($ = 0.9286 euro)