Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow has inaugurated its third runway, making it the only Russian airport with three runways.

The first flight to land on the new runway was the Aeroflot flight SU 019 from St Petersburg, landing at 4:20pm local time on 19 September.

Measuring 3,200m x 60m, the runway permits the landing of both Russian and foreign aircraft.

Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation E I Dietrich said: “Today we witness the commissioning of a completely new quality of infrastructure. The first two lanes at Sheremetyevo operate in dependent mode.

“Their removal from each other does not allow two planes to land and take off simultaneously. The third late is absolutely independent and makes it possible for aircraft to land and take off simultaneously.”

This new runway will increase the airport’s capacity from 60-65 flight operations an hour to 90.

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Equipped with the ICAO category 3, the airport is expected to eliminate all infrastructure restrictions.

Following the commissioning of the third runway, the airport operator may also carry out the planned reconstruction of Runway 1.

Russian billionaire businessman and Sheremetyevo International Airport stake-holder Alexander Ponomarenko said: “The most complicated technical object of the airfield infrastructure, the third runway is necessary to expand the capacity of Sheremetyevo International Airport.

“The commissioning of the new runway under construction by Terminal C and a number of other facilities together create favourable conditions for achieving our strategic goal of entering the top ten largest airports in the world with a capacity of about 100 million passengers per year by 2026.”

In May this year, a Russian passenger aircraft caught fire at the airport, claiming the lives of at least 41 passengers.

Flight SU 1492, operated by Russian carrier Aeroflot, was flying with 73 passengers and five crew members on board from Moscow to Murmansk, a Russian city in the Arctic Circle.

In October last year, Sheremetyevo International Airport brought an aircraft fueling system to full capacity, serving Terminal B of the Northern Terminal Complex.